Starrcade Countdown (Supplemental): The Best of Starrcade 83-87

The SmarK Retro Rant for the Best of Starrcade 83-87. LET’S GET OLD SCHOOL! This was a tape put out by Crockett in early 88 to celebrate five years of Starrcade, and it’s an unheard-of two tape, four-hour collection of uncut matches from 83-87, and the matchlist shows some truly amazing foresight on the part of the people making the selections. It was in pretty good supply up until a few years ago, too, with most Blockbusters carrying it. And PLEASE don’t e-mail me asking if you can get a copy from me, because it’ll go straight to the recycle bin. Try your local video store or ask at the Death Valley Driver board (www.deathvalleydriver.com) because I’m sure someone there would be more than happy to get you a copy. – Your host is Magnum TAStarrcade 83 – Dog collar match: Greg Valentine v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Valentine was the US champion, but this is non-title due to the gimmick match. Bigtime bloodfeud here as Piper was crazy over as a babyface. They play tug-of-war with the chain to start, using their necks. Piper whips him with the chain and Valentine backs off. Valentine tries to whip Piper in turn and fails. Slugfest and they back off again. Piper blitzes him, and crotches him with the chain, but Valentinue uses the chain to nail Piper in the injured ear and rubs it in. Ouch. Greg drops the hammer, but Piper kneelifts him and chokes him out. Cool spot sees Piper wrap the chain around the post to trap Valentine in the corner and beat him down with the chain. Greg blades. Valentine chokes him down and Piper bails. They start whipping each other with the chain and slug it out on the apron. Greg goes to the ear to take over. He posts Piper and the ear starts GUSHING blood. Valentine pounds on the ear with the chain. That’s sick. Piper blocks a suplex with a chainshot, but gets elbowed in the ear. Hammer elbow gets two. Another one gets two. Piper spears him and stomps away, but has no balance due to the ear injury. He destroys him with the chain and wins a slugfest, but Valentine clotheslines the dizzy Piper and gets a kneedrop for two. Piper reverses a suplex for the double-KO as Piper bleeds like a pig. Valentine sleeper attempt has Solie writing the match off and nearly packing up the headset to leave, but Piper rears back and KO’s him with the chain. Greg gets a pair of elbows, and misses one off the 2nd rope, allowing Piper to get a fluke pin at 15:15. Slowish but intense and sick brawl. ***1/2 Valentine absolutely massacres Piper afterwards. – NWA World tag title match: Jack & Jerry Brisco v. Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood. Jerry went on to become current McMahon stooge Gerald Brisco, of course, while Youngblood was killed in a plane crash fairly soon after this, sending Steamboat into singles again. Jack & Steamboat start and Jack escapes a chop off a leapfrog sequence. Steamboat gets an armdrag, so Jerry comes in. He can’t get anywhere with Steamboat hiding in the corner. He tries whipping him post to post, but it backfires and Youngblood comes in to work a headlock. Jerry slams out of a hammerlock, but Youngblood simply hangs on. Steamboat comes off the top as they work on Jerry’s arm and prevent a tag. Steamboat gets caught in the heel corner and Jack hotshots him. Kneedrop and Jack hits the chinlock. Steamboat escapes, but gets backdropped and butterfly suplexed for two. Brisco keeps holding a bridge on the pinfall attempt for more near-falls. Now THAT’S cool. Hiptoss into a short-arm scissors gets two. Sweet. Steamboat powers out with that goofy spot you never see anymore, hot tag Youngblood. Jack reverses a suplex, however. D’oh! Briscoes hit a double-shoulderblock and Jerry gets two. Drop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch rollup gets two. An argument between Jerry and special ref Angelo Mosca allows Jay to get the tag, and it’s HELL ON EARTH. Okay, Solie would never say that, but you’ve gotta change it up sometimes. Big chops for Gerry. Double-chop and Steamboat presses Jay onto Jerry for the pin and the titles at 12:00. Great little fast-paced match there. ***1/2 – NWA World title, cage match: Harley Race v. Ric Flair. This was the culmination of the title bouncing around a few times in the early 80s between Race, Rhodes, Flair and what was supposed to be Ted Dibiase. However, Dibiase got screwed over by politics and ended up never getting that title reign. Flair was the underdog babyface here and Race was the grizzled heel. Flair works a headlock to start, frustrating Race. Flair elbows him and hits the chinlock, and back to a headlock. He walks into a knee, but Race misses a headbutt. Back to the headlock for Flair. He uses it for a couple of two counts. Race suplexes out for two. Elbowdrop misses, but Flair can’t slam him. Race drops a knee and grinds it in, and does it again. Piledriver, but Race doesn’t cover, choosing to wait and drop an elbow instead for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Race keeps dropping knees on Flair’s head like a jerk, then rams him into the cage and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. Flair slugs away from his knees, but Race headbutts him into paste. Back to the cage, but Flair won’t go down. Race argues with special ref Gene Kiniski, as Flair blades. Flair comes back, but gets headbutted again. Flair reverses a cross-corner whip and sends Race to the cage, equalling up the blood tally. Flair styles and profiles, as he stomps Race. Piledriver gets two. Flair works the neck and gets a butterfly suplex for two. Back to the cage a few times, making sure Race hits the pole. Race headbutts him low and rubs his face into the cage. Race tosses him into the cage again, but Flair won’t go down. Headbutt, Flair won’t go down. Flair clips him and drops an elbow, then hammers on the cut. Flair’s face is just a mess of blood. Backdrop suplex sets up the figure-four clean in the middle, but Race eventually reverses. Race headbutts him again and now he goes down. Flair reverses a suplex for two. Race headbutts him down and comes off the 2nd rope with another one for two. Suplex gets two. Race keeps pounding on him, and Solie again declares everything over for the challenger. Flair of course chooses that moment to come back, blocking a suplex and getting one of his own, but misses an elbow. Race headbutts Kiniski by mistake, and Flair goes up with a bodypress to regain the title at 23:46. Kiniski actually blew the spot, as the idea was that Race would knock him down and Gene would get on his hands and knees and trip up Race from behind on the bodypress. Kiniski, however, got up too soon and wasn’t in position to execute properly. Doesn’t hurt an otherwise excellent match too much, but it’s pretty noticeable. Nothing you’d call state-of-the-art here, but everything they did was done well and there was no resting, and Flair’s selling job was something to behold. ****1/2 All the babyfaces celebrate with Flair. Starrcade 84 – World TV title match: Tully Blanchard v. Rick Steamboat. Steamboat is coming in with those pesky DDPish injured ribs. Blanchard goes right for them, but Steamboat fires back and Tully bails. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a splash for two. Steamboat goes to the chinlock and holds on to it as Tully tries to roll out. Tully misses an elbow and takes a kneelift, but Steamboat can’t do anything because of the ribs. Tully goes for them and hits a rib-breaker. Elbow and Steamboat is in some pain. Tully just viciously kicks away at him and struts. Steamboat fights back with a chops and a drops a pair of knees for two. Hit the chinlock. Tully knees him in the ribs like a jerk and suplexes him for two. Steamboat grabs a headlock, but Tully breaks. He dances around, taunting Steamboat, but gets powerslammed for two. Double-chop gets two. Kneedrop and big chop get two. Steamboat spits on him (!) and chops away in the corner. Tully is on rubber leg street. Neckbreaker gets two. Steamboat pulls out Tully’s slingshot suplex for two. Dropkick gets two. Chop and Tully bails, then goes to the tights for an international object. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a face full of brass knux, for two. To the top, but Steamboat blocks a superplex and splashes him for two. Sunset flip, but Tully blocks and utilizes the international object for the pin at 13:12. Didn’t like the finish, but the match was awesome. Don’t worry, though – Tully gets his in just a little bit… **** – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. Smokin’ Joe Frazier is YOUR special guest referee, and this is for $1,000,000. Solie notes that Dusty is “carrying a little weight” for this match. Well, there’s your understatement of the year. Dusty works the headlock, but Flair chops him. Dusty fires back as Solie then goes over his atheletic background, including a football stint playing the offensive line. The whole thing? Rhodes misses an elbow and Flair chops at him and gets a knee for two. Another one misses and Dusty gets a figure-four. Flair makes the ropes. They roll around the mat, accomplishing nothing. Dusty wins a wristlock battle and elbows him down. Slam and Flair Flop is followed closely by the Flair Flip as he bails. Rhodes suplexes him in for two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, but Dusty misses an elbow. He just won’t sell here. Flair gets a sleeper, but Dusty dumps him. They brawl and Dusty has an intimate encounter with the ringpost and does his best move – a gory bladejob. Joe Frazier keeps trying to check the cut, but Flair attacks it. Dusty fights back but the match is stopped at 12:07. This is of course the prototype for the Flair-Luger finish at Bash 88 that flopped even worse. Match was too short to be worth anything, and there was no real flow or pace. *1/2 Starrcade 85 – “I Quit” cage match, US title: Tully Blanchard v. Magnum TA. Backstory: They HATE each other. That’s all you need. They slug it out, and fight on the mat like schoolkids, then slug it out again. Tully bails to the apron and TA rams him to the cage. Tully responds in kind, then drops an elbow and does it again. Rear chinlock and Magnum powers out in a rather famous visual. He presses Tully onto the top rope, but gets kneelifted. He slugs away on Tully, but gets tossed into the cage again and they fight on the mat. Tully goes to the cage, and then again out of a hammerlocked position. His arm starts gushing blood, but he headbutts Magnum low. Magnum keeps digging at that arm, but Tully potatoes him, and busts him open. Tully kicks away and uses the mike to pound on Magnum’s face and ask for the submission. Magnum refuses, so Tully rams it into his forehead four times. They actually do this a few times, resulting in the crowd hearing this charming exchange over the PA: “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. Hotshot into the cage and Tully goes up and hits an elbow, then more hijinx with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They slug it out, won by Magnum, and he uses the mike himself. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They claw at each other’s eyes on the mat, and Tully knocks TA silly with a right. TA hits his own and grabs the mike, but Tully kicks him in the head to block. Inverted atomic drop and Tully just destroys him with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK THUNK THUNK He drops some elbows and tosses the ref aside, as Baby Doll throws a balsa-wood chair in, which shatters upon hitting the mat. Ah, American workmanship. Tully grabs a piece and tries to stab Magnum in the eye, but it’s blocked. Magnum grabs it from him, jams it into Tully’s eye, and gets the submission and US title at 14:22. And you thought Mick Foley was hardcore. ***** – NWA World tag team title, cage match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff v. The Rock N Roll Express. This was the Express’ first real shot at winning the belts, as their prime in the sport proved to be only a couple of years. Nikita & Ricky Morton start, and Nikita overpowers Ricky. Morton dropkicks him to no effect. Ivan comes in and gets bodypressed, but crotches Ricky on the top for two. Robert Gibson comes in with a dropkick, slam and kneedrop for two. Ricky gets a fistdrop for two. Robert rolls him up for two. They double-team Ivan for two. Robert ducks a sickle and sends Ivan to the cage, and Ricky comes in with a fistdrop. Again, for two. Robert does the same for two, but gets caught in the communist corner and hotshotted into the cage by Nikita. To the cage another two times for good luck. Ricky keeps charging in like a madman, allowing the Russians to double-team. Ivan sends Robert to the cage and drops an elbow for two. Nikita bites him and poses, and they champs double-team again for two. Ivan crotches himself, but Robert can’t tag. Ricky charges in again, allowing more shenanigans. Ivan drops a leg for two. Nikita hits a chinlock as Robert bleeds. Ivan maintains control and gets two. Back to the cage via Nikita. Robert dropkicks Ivan, bumping the ref. RUSSIAN SICKLE OF DOOM for Robert, no ref. Rick sneaks in on a hot tag, rolls up Ivan, and gets the tag titles at 12:18, nearly blowing the roof off the arena. God, I don’t know how the screaming girls in the audience could keep up the volume for 12 minutes, but somehow they did. The RNR were so over with the females that they made Buff Bagwell look like Harley Race. *** Starrcade 86 – Skywalker match: The Midnight Express v. The Road Warriors. This match has somehow acquired a historic slant that it doesn’t deserve. The Express takes forever to climb up. They all slug it out while crawling around. Condrey and Eaton both toss powder at the Warriors. Hawk gets close to falling off the scaffold, as does Eaton. Both grab a ladder and hang on, however. Both of the Express blade soon after. Dennis crawl away to escape, so Hawk kicks him in the head and they fight on the ladder. Now Animal and Eaton join them, they chickenfight under the scaffolding, and the Express falls off at 7;16. Cornette climbs up to escape Ellering soon after, and gets knocked off himself, buggering his knee for the rest of his life as a result. * – NWA World tag title, cage match: The Rock N Roll Express v. Ole & Arn Anderson. Robert dodges Ole and a pier-six erupts early. Arn gets caught in the wrong corner and retreats. Ole comes in, but can’t escape the RNR either. Ricky outguns him with some speed, and the Horsemen regroup again. Arn tries with Morton, but gets reversed to death. Rock N Roll work the arm, but Robert misses a charge and kneelifts the cage by mistake. Ouch. The Andersons just DIVE for the knee and destroy it. Robert kicks out of a figure-four, but Ole keeps up the punishment with a stepover toehold. Arn goes knee-to-knee on Robert and grinds it in. Robert gets an enzuigiri, tags Ricky, and he promptly goes facefirst to the cage to put a stop to THAT. Ricky Morton plays Ricky Morton and all is right with the world. Ole gets two off a snapmare and Arn bites at him. Back to the cage goes Ricky, and Ole methodically stomps away. Ricky bleeds huge. Arn switches to the arm and Ole keeps at it, slapping an armbar on. Hammerlock slam from Arn gets a pop and he goes to the 2nd rope, but gets nailed coming down. Ole comes in and pounds the arm, however, preventing a tag. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Morton kneelifts Arn, but can’t tag. Ole uses a stepover armlock, and Rick fires back, but Ole keeps at the arm. Rick fights back again, but gets double-teamed INCHES from the tag. The crowd is just about ready to riot at this point. He staggers up and walks into a spinebuster from Arn. D’oh. Ole comes off the top with a kneedrop onto Ricky’s arm, but Ricky won’t quit. Double-KO, but Ricky can’t capitalize. He fires away on Arn, lunges for the tag…and Ole nails him, giving the crowd a heart attack. That’s just mean booking. He small packages Ole for two as Robert finally has had enough and brawls with Arn, distracting the ref long enough for the Express to double dropkick Ole and Ricky gets the pin with his last burst of energy to retain at 19:00. CLASSIC Ricky Morton here. **** Starracade 87 – US title match, cage: Lex Luger v. Dusty Rhodes. If ever anyone earned the Poochie moniker, it’s Dusty Rhodes. I’m shocked he settled for booking himself in the US title match. This is Luger’s title v. Rhodes’ career. That’s hardly a fair trade. Luger is still way green at this point. Luger misses the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit and Rhodes goes to work on the arm. Luger comes back and rams Dusty into the cage — and I hope you’re sitting down, cuz here comes a shocking development — and Rhodes bleeds. Yeah, I know, I’m sitting here thinking “Dusty…blade? In what universe?” but here it is, captured on tape: Dusty actually bleeding. Luger hits the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit. Dusty pulls out a Watts-ian dropkick. Man, that was uglier than Rhodes and his kid combined. Luger gets the Rack, but Dusty is JUST TOO FAT. Who’d have thunk it’d be an advantage to be grossly overweight? I love reviewing Dusty’s matches…it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Seemingly the only reason for the cage’s existance here was to give Big Dust the chance to bleed, because otherwise it’s a standard match and the cage is basically ignored. Luger holds move #193 (ARM-bar) for an extended period of time. Dusty jiggles his fat and makes the comeback. And people think PIPER exposes the business? This fat fuck was out there from 1901 until almost the present day before he finally took the fucking hint and retired. But not until he foisted his idiot son on us. Rhodes gets the sleeperhold, but Dillon knocks out Johnny Weaver (the keeper of the key) and tosses a chair in for Luger. Luger….slowly….picks….up…..the…..chair, allowing Dusty the time to peel his digusting fat ass off the mat and DDT Luger on the chair (no, that wasn’t contrived or unbelievable in the least, Dusty) for the pin and the US title at 16:23. Do I seem bitter? * – NWA World title match: Ron Garvin v. Ric Flair. Everyone always asks why Garvin got the title — short answer is “There was no one else”. Flair wanted to lose the title and regain it at Starrcade, but there was no top babyfaces who were dumb enough to agree to be a lameduck champion. So they got Garvin, who was dumb enough to agree to anything. And then because none of the top heels were dumb enough to put Garvin over when everyone knew Flair was just getting the belt back anyway, they all refused to job to him. So Garvin took a “sabbatical”, thus making him a thoroughly useless champion in the eyes of the fans and the bookers. No wonder Crockett went broke. Inspirational babyface Garvin gets soundly booed by the fans. Again, the first few minutes of this match are clipped. And again, the full version is on Best of Starrcade. We pick it up with Garvin delivering the 10 punch count, and then the GARVIN STOMP OF SLIGHT DISCOMFORT! Flair retaliates with the Great Equalizer and Garvin does a terrible selling job. C’mon, Ronnie, you just got hit in the nuts by the dirtiest player in the game, show some emotion! Flair bounces around the body parts for a bit, then settles on the good ol’ knee. Usual stuff…kneedrops, kneebreaker and then the figure-four. Why does Flair let go when Young looks? It’s no-DQ. Oh well, habit I guess. Garvin reverses. Crowd rewards him with a “Garvin sucks” chant. This was 1987, remember, years before ECW trained fans to be that cynical. Flair decides to have a blading contest with Dusty and taps an artery. They fight to the top of the cage but it goes nowhere. Flair gets slammed off the top and Garvin does his own figure-four, which makes no sense because Flair hasn’t sold any knee injuries in this match. Flair of course sells like he’s being stabbed. Flair escapes, but Garvin gets to the top and hits a flying bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Flair refreshes his blade job and they climb to the top again. Flair, of course, gets crotched on the top rope as a result, but when Garvin goes for the SUNSET FLIP OF DOOM, Flair sits down and gets two. Garvin reverses for two. Young gets bumped mildly and Garvin hits the PUNCH OF DEATH for two. Garvin goes for something vaguely resembling a cross between a Thesz press and a bodypress, but Flair falls back and slams Garvin’s head into the cage and gets the pin at 17:25 to put us out of our misery. Hope you enjoyed your one brush with greatness, Ron, you won’t get a second one. Huge pop for Flair. So-so match with a weak ending. **1/2 – Okay, so I stole that last two match reviews from my Starrcade 87 rant, so sue me. Like I’m gonna sit through Flair-Garvin again. Starrcade 85, Redux. – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. This is the match that started the downward slide of the NWA. As usual, blame Dusty. I don’t know why they’re closing the tape with it, aside from the obvious ego issues with Rhodes. Slugfest to start, won by Dusty. Flair bails. Back in, it’s chop v. elbow. Guess which wins. Flair bails again. Dusty works a hammerlock, and that goes a while. Flair chops away and drops the knee for two. Kick to the knee and Dusty bails. This was after the Horsemen broke his leg in the parking lot, I believe, because Dusty is wearing one cowboy boot and one special orthapedic cowboy boot. Dusty elbows him from the apron and works on the knee back in. Flair tries a suplex, but Dusty’s localized gravitational pull prevents it. He reverses and keeps at Flair’s knee. His method is basically laying motionless on Flair’s leg. Flair sleeper, but Rhodes escapes and wraps Flair’s leg around the post. Chops are no-sold and Dusty comes back with his own pork-chops, but Flair comes back and goes to the top rope. Quick, kids, what happens next? That’s right, he gets SLAMMED OFF. Flair and Rhodes each block a figure-four, and they slug it out. Flair Flip and they brawl, with Flair hitting the post. Back in, Dusty goes up and tries a bodypress, which ends up as Dusty belly-flopping off the top onto him for two. Good lord, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Dusty hammers on the cut, Flair Flop. Flair comes back, goes after the leg, and gets the figure-four. Dusty easily reverses to break. Elbows and lariat get two for Rhodes. Ref gets bumped on the kickout and tossed. Dusty gets a figure-four, but the Andersons run in and nail him. New ref in, Flair gets two. Dusty cradles for the pin and the title at 22:07. The next week the decision was overturned due to outside interference, marking the very first occurance on a major show of the Dusty Finish. Fear not, junior campers, Dusty would book himself over Flair cleanly a few months later to win his third World title for real. **1/2 The Bottom Line: Well, I didn’t really need all the Dusty Rhodes, but otherwise this is an awesome compilation of all the great stuff from the first 5 Starrcades, and truly has something for everyone, be it scientific wrestling, gory brawling, freakshow gimmick matches or Ron Garvin. Highest recommendation.

Starrcade Countdown (Supplemental): The Best of Starrcade 83-87

The SmarK Retro Rant for the Best of Starrcade 83-87. LET’S GET OLD SCHOOL! This was a tape put out by Crockett in early 88 to celebrate five years of Starrcade, and it’s an unheard-of two tape, four-hour collection of uncut matches from 83-87, and the matchlist shows some truly amazing foresight on the part of the people making the selections. It was in pretty good supply up until a few years ago, too, with most Blockbusters carrying it. And PLEASE don’t e-mail me asking if you can get a copy from me, because it’ll go straight to the recycle bin. Try your local video store or ask at the Death Valley Driver board (www.deathvalleydriver.com) because I’m sure someone there would be more than happy to get you a copy. – Your host is Magnum TAStarrcade 83 – Dog collar match: Greg Valentine v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Valentine was the US champion, but this is non-title due to the gimmick match. Bigtime bloodfeud here as Piper was crazy over as a babyface. They play tug-of-war with the chain to start, using their necks. Piper whips him with the chain and Valentine backs off. Valentine tries to whip Piper in turn and fails. Slugfest and they back off again. Piper blitzes him, and crotches him with the chain, but Valentinue uses the chain to nail Piper in the injured ear and rubs it in. Ouch. Greg drops the hammer, but Piper kneelifts him and chokes him out. Cool spot sees Piper wrap the chain around the post to trap Valentine in the corner and beat him down with the chain. Greg blades. Valentine chokes him down and Piper bails. They start whipping each other with the chain and slug it out on the apron. Greg goes to the ear to take over. He posts Piper and the ear starts GUSHING blood. Valentine pounds on the ear with the chain. That’s sick. Piper blocks a suplex with a chainshot, but gets elbowed in the ear. Hammer elbow gets two. Another one gets two. Piper spears him and stomps away, but has no balance due to the ear injury. He destroys him with the chain and wins a slugfest, but Valentine clotheslines the dizzy Piper and gets a kneedrop for two. Piper reverses a suplex for the double-KO as Piper bleeds like a pig. Valentine sleeper attempt has Solie writing the match off and nearly packing up the headset to leave, but Piper rears back and KO’s him with the chain. Greg gets a pair of elbows, and misses one off the 2nd rope, allowing Piper to get a fluke pin at 15:15. Slowish but intense and sick brawl. ***1/2 Valentine absolutely massacres Piper afterwards. – NWA World tag title match: Jack & Jerry Brisco v. Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood. Jerry went on to become current McMahon stooge Gerald Brisco, of course, while Youngblood was killed in a plane crash fairly soon after this, sending Steamboat into singles again. Jack & Steamboat start and Jack escapes a chop off a leapfrog sequence. Steamboat gets an armdrag, so Jerry comes in. He can’t get anywhere with Steamboat hiding in the corner. He tries whipping him post to post, but it backfires and Youngblood comes in to work a headlock. Jerry slams out of a hammerlock, but Youngblood simply hangs on. Steamboat comes off the top as they work on Jerry’s arm and prevent a tag. Steamboat gets caught in the heel corner and Jack hotshots him. Kneedrop and Jack hits the chinlock. Steamboat escapes, but gets backdropped and butterfly suplexed for two. Brisco keeps holding a bridge on the pinfall attempt for more near-falls. Now THAT’S cool. Hiptoss into a short-arm scissors gets two. Sweet. Steamboat powers out with that goofy spot you never see anymore, hot tag Youngblood. Jack reverses a suplex, however. D’oh! Briscoes hit a double-shoulderblock and Jerry gets two. Drop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch rollup gets two. An argument between Jerry and special ref Angelo Mosca allows Jay to get the tag, and it’s HELL ON EARTH. Okay, Solie would never say that, but you’ve gotta change it up sometimes. Big chops for Gerry. Double-chop and Steamboat presses Jay onto Jerry for the pin and the titles at 12:00. Great little fast-paced match there. ***1/2 – NWA World title, cage match: Harley Race v. Ric Flair. This was the culmination of the title bouncing around a few times in the early 80s between Race, Rhodes, Flair and what was supposed to be Ted Dibiase. However, Dibiase got screwed over by politics and ended up never getting that title reign. Flair was the underdog babyface here and Race was the grizzled heel. Flair works a headlock to start, frustrating Race. Flair elbows him and hits the chinlock, and back to a headlock. He walks into a knee, but Race misses a headbutt. Back to the headlock for Flair. He uses it for a couple of two counts. Race suplexes out for two. Elbowdrop misses, but Flair can’t slam him. Race drops a knee and grinds it in, and does it again. Piledriver, but Race doesn’t cover, choosing to wait and drop an elbow instead for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Race keeps dropping knees on Flair’s head like a jerk, then rams him into the cage and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. Flair slugs away from his knees, but Race headbutts him into paste. Back to the cage, but Flair won’t go down. Race argues with special ref Gene Kiniski, as Flair blades. Flair comes back, but gets headbutted again. Flair reverses a cross-corner whip and sends Race to the cage, equalling up the blood tally. Flair styles and profiles, as he stomps Race. Piledriver gets two. Flair works the neck and gets a butterfly suplex for two. Back to the cage a few times, making sure Race hits the pole. Race headbutts him low and rubs his face into the cage. Race tosses him into the cage again, but Flair won’t go down. Headbutt, Flair won’t go down. Flair clips him and drops an elbow, then hammers on the cut. Flair’s face is just a mess of blood. Backdrop suplex sets up the figure-four clean in the middle, but Race eventually reverses. Race headbutts him again and now he goes down. Flair reverses a suplex for two. Race headbutts him down and comes off the 2nd rope with another one for two. Suplex gets two. Race keeps pounding on him, and Solie again declares everything over for the challenger. Flair of course chooses that moment to come back, blocking a suplex and getting one of his own, but misses an elbow. Race headbutts Kiniski by mistake, and Flair goes up with a bodypress to regain the title at 23:46. Kiniski actually blew the spot, as the idea was that Race would knock him down and Gene would get on his hands and knees and trip up Race from behind on the bodypress. Kiniski, however, got up too soon and wasn’t in position to execute properly. Doesn’t hurt an otherwise excellent match too much, but it’s pretty noticeable. Nothing you’d call state-of-the-art here, but everything they did was done well and there was no resting, and Flair’s selling job was something to behold. ****1/2 All the babyfaces celebrate with Flair. Starrcade 84 – World TV title match: Tully Blanchard v. Rick Steamboat. Steamboat is coming in with those pesky DDPish injured ribs. Blanchard goes right for them, but Steamboat fires back and Tully bails. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a splash for two. Steamboat goes to the chinlock and holds on to it as Tully tries to roll out. Tully misses an elbow and takes a kneelift, but Steamboat can’t do anything because of the ribs. Tully goes for them and hits a rib-breaker. Elbow and Steamboat is in some pain. Tully just viciously kicks away at him and struts. Steamboat fights back with a chops and a drops a pair of knees for two. Hit the chinlock. Tully knees him in the ribs like a jerk and suplexes him for two. Steamboat grabs a headlock, but Tully breaks. He dances around, taunting Steamboat, but gets powerslammed for two. Double-chop gets two. Kneedrop and big chop get two. Steamboat spits on him (!) and chops away in the corner. Tully is on rubber leg street. Neckbreaker gets two. Steamboat pulls out Tully’s slingshot suplex for two. Dropkick gets two. Chop and Tully bails, then goes to the tights for an international object. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a face full of brass knux, for two. To the top, but Steamboat blocks a superplex and splashes him for two. Sunset flip, but Tully blocks and utilizes the international object for the pin at 13:12. Didn’t like the finish, but the match was awesome. Don’t worry, though – Tully gets his in just a little bit… **** – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. Smokin’ Joe Frazier is YOUR special guest referee, and this is for $1,000,000. Solie notes that Dusty is “carrying a little weight” for this match. Well, there’s your understatement of the year. Dusty works the headlock, but Flair chops him. Dusty fires back as Solie then goes over his atheletic background, including a football stint playing the offensive line. The whole thing? Rhodes misses an elbow and Flair chops at him and gets a knee for two. Another one misses and Dusty gets a figure-four. Flair makes the ropes. They roll around the mat, accomplishing nothing. Dusty wins a wristlock battle and elbows him down. Slam and Flair Flop is followed closely by the Flair Flip as he bails. Rhodes suplexes him in for two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, but Dusty misses an elbow. He just won’t sell here. Flair gets a sleeper, but Dusty dumps him. They brawl and Dusty has an intimate encounter with the ringpost and does his best move – a gory bladejob. Joe Frazier keeps trying to check the cut, but Flair attacks it. Dusty fights back but the match is stopped at 12:07. This is of course the prototype for the Flair-Luger finish at Bash 88 that flopped even worse. Match was too short to be worth anything, and there was no real flow or pace. *1/2 Starrcade 85 – “I Quit” cage match, US title: Tully Blanchard v. Magnum TA. Backstory: They HATE each other. That’s all you need. They slug it out, and fight on the mat like schoolkids, then slug it out again. Tully bails to the apron and TA rams him to the cage. Tully responds in kind, then drops an elbow and does it again. Rear chinlock and Magnum powers out in a rather famous visual. He presses Tully onto the top rope, but gets kneelifted. He slugs away on Tully, but gets tossed into the cage again and they fight on the mat. Tully goes to the cage, and then again out of a hammerlocked position. His arm starts gushing blood, but he headbutts Magnum low. Magnum keeps digging at that arm, but Tully potatoes him, and busts him open. Tully kicks away and uses the mike to pound on Magnum’s face and ask for the submission. Magnum refuses, so Tully rams it into his forehead four times. They actually do this a few times, resulting in the crowd hearing this charming exchange over the PA: “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. Hotshot into the cage and Tully goes up and hits an elbow, then more hijinx with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They slug it out, won by Magnum, and he uses the mike himself. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They claw at each other’s eyes on the mat, and Tully knocks TA silly with a right. TA hits his own and grabs the mike, but Tully kicks him in the head to block. Inverted atomic drop and Tully just destroys him with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK THUNK THUNK He drops some elbows and tosses the ref aside, as Baby Doll throws a balsa-wood chair in, which shatters upon hitting the mat. Ah, American workmanship. Tully grabs a piece and tries to stab Magnum in the eye, but it’s blocked. Magnum grabs it from him, jams it into Tully’s eye, and gets the submission and US title at 14:22. And you thought Mick Foley was hardcore. ***** – NWA World tag team title, cage match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff v. The Rock N Roll Express. This was the Express’ first real shot at winning the belts, as their prime in the sport proved to be only a couple of years. Nikita & Ricky Morton start, and Nikita overpowers Ricky. Morton dropkicks him to no effect. Ivan comes in and gets bodypressed, but crotches Ricky on the top for two. Robert Gibson comes in with a dropkick, slam and kneedrop for two. Ricky gets a fistdrop for two. Robert rolls him up for two. They double-team Ivan for two. Robert ducks a sickle and sends Ivan to the cage, and Ricky comes in with a fistdrop. Again, for two. Robert does the same for two, but gets caught in the communist corner and hotshotted into the cage by Nikita. To the cage another two times for good luck. Ricky keeps charging in like a madman, allowing the Russians to double-team. Ivan sends Robert to the cage and drops an elbow for two. Nikita bites him and poses, and they champs double-team again for two. Ivan crotches himself, but Robert can’t tag. Ricky charges in again, allowing more shenanigans. Ivan drops a leg for two. Nikita hits a chinlock as Robert bleeds. Ivan maintains control and gets two. Back to the cage via Nikita. Robert dropkicks Ivan, bumping the ref. RUSSIAN SICKLE OF DOOM for Robert, no ref. Rick sneaks in on a hot tag, rolls up Ivan, and gets the tag titles at 12:18, nearly blowing the roof off the arena. God, I don’t know how the screaming girls in the audience could keep up the volume for 12 minutes, but somehow they did. The RNR were so over with the females that they made Buff Bagwell look like Harley Race. *** Starrcade 86 – Skywalker match: The Midnight Express v. The Road Warriors. This match has somehow acquired a historic slant that it doesn’t deserve. The Express takes forever to climb up. They all slug it out while crawling around. Condrey and Eaton both toss powder at the Warriors. Hawk gets close to falling off the scaffold, as does Eaton. Both grab a ladder and hang on, however. Both of the Express blade soon after. Dennis crawl away to escape, so Hawk kicks him in the head and they fight on the ladder. Now Animal and Eaton join them, they chickenfight under the scaffolding, and the Express falls off at 7;16. Cornette climbs up to escape Ellering soon after, and gets knocked off himself, buggering his knee for the rest of his life as a result. * – NWA World tag title, cage match: The Rock N Roll Express v. Ole & Arn Anderson. Robert dodges Ole and a pier-six erupts early. Arn gets caught in the wrong corner and retreats. Ole comes in, but can’t escape the RNR either. Ricky outguns him with some speed, and the Horsemen regroup again. Arn tries with Morton, but gets reversed to death. Rock N Roll work the arm, but Robert misses a charge and kneelifts the cage by mistake. Ouch. The Andersons just DIVE for the knee and destroy it. Robert kicks out of a figure-four, but Ole keeps up the punishment with a stepover toehold. Arn goes knee-to-knee on Robert and grinds it in. Robert gets an enzuigiri, tags Ricky, and he promptly goes facefirst to the cage to put a stop to THAT. Ricky Morton plays Ricky Morton and all is right with the world. Ole gets two off a snapmare and Arn bites at him. Back to the cage goes Ricky, and Ole methodically stomps away. Ricky bleeds huge. Arn switches to the arm and Ole keeps at it, slapping an armbar on. Hammerlock slam from Arn gets a pop and he goes to the 2nd rope, but gets nailed coming down. Ole comes in and pounds the arm, however, preventing a tag. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Morton kneelifts Arn, but can’t tag. Ole uses a stepover armlock, and Rick fires back, but Ole keeps at the arm. Rick fights back again, but gets double-teamed INCHES from the tag. The crowd is just about ready to riot at this point. He staggers up and walks into a spinebuster from Arn. D’oh. Ole comes off the top with a kneedrop onto Ricky’s arm, but Ricky won’t quit. Double-KO, but Ricky can’t capitalize. He fires away on Arn, lunges for the tag…and Ole nails him, giving the crowd a heart attack. That’s just mean booking. He small packages Ole for two as Robert finally has had enough and brawls with Arn, distracting the ref long enough for the Express to double dropkick Ole and Ricky gets the pin with his last burst of energy to retain at 19:00. CLASSIC Ricky Morton here. **** Starracade 87 – US title match, cage: Lex Luger v. Dusty Rhodes. If ever anyone earned the Poochie moniker, it’s Dusty Rhodes. I’m shocked he settled for booking himself in the US title match. This is Luger’s title v. Rhodes’ career. That’s hardly a fair trade. Luger is still way green at this point. Luger misses the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit and Rhodes goes to work on the arm. Luger comes back and rams Dusty into the cage — and I hope you’re sitting down, cuz here comes a shocking development — and Rhodes bleeds. Yeah, I know, I’m sitting here thinking “Dusty…blade? In what universe?” but here it is, captured on tape: Dusty actually bleeding. Luger hits the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit. Dusty pulls out a Watts-ian dropkick. Man, that was uglier than Rhodes and his kid combined. Luger gets the Rack, but Dusty is JUST TOO FAT. Who’d have thunk it’d be an advantage to be grossly overweight? I love reviewing Dusty’s matches…it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Seemingly the only reason for the cage’s existance here was to give Big Dust the chance to bleed, because otherwise it’s a standard match and the cage is basically ignored. Luger holds move #193 (ARM-bar) for an extended period of time. Dusty jiggles his fat and makes the comeback. And people think PIPER exposes the business? This fat fuck was out there from 1901 until almost the present day before he finally took the fucking hint and retired. But not until he foisted his idiot son on us. Rhodes gets the sleeperhold, but Dillon knocks out Johnny Weaver (the keeper of the key) and tosses a chair in for Luger. Luger….slowly….picks….up…..the…..chair, allowing Dusty the time to peel his digusting fat ass off the mat and DDT Luger on the chair (no, that wasn’t contrived or unbelievable in the least, Dusty) for the pin and the US title at 16:23. Do I seem bitter? * – NWA World title match: Ron Garvin v. Ric Flair. Everyone always asks why Garvin got the title — short answer is “There was no one else”. Flair wanted to lose the title and regain it at Starrcade, but there was no top babyfaces who were dumb enough to agree to be a lameduck champion. So they got Garvin, who was dumb enough to agree to anything. And then because none of the top heels were dumb enough to put Garvin over when everyone knew Flair was just getting the belt back anyway, they all refused to job to him. So Garvin took a “sabbatical”, thus making him a thoroughly useless champion in the eyes of the fans and the bookers. No wonder Crockett went broke. Inspirational babyface Garvin gets soundly booed by the fans. Again, the first few minutes of this match are clipped. And again, the full version is on Best of Starrcade. We pick it up with Garvin delivering the 10 punch count, and then the GARVIN STOMP OF SLIGHT DISCOMFORT! Flair retaliates with the Great Equalizer and Garvin does a terrible selling job. C’mon, Ronnie, you just got hit in the nuts by the dirtiest player in the game, show some emotion! Flair bounces around the body parts for a bit, then settles on the good ol’ knee. Usual stuff…kneedrops, kneebreaker and then the figure-four. Why does Flair let go when Young looks? It’s no-DQ. Oh well, habit I guess. Garvin reverses. Crowd rewards him with a “Garvin sucks” chant. This was 1987, remember, years before ECW trained fans to be that cynical. Flair decides to have a blading contest with Dusty and taps an artery. They fight to the top of the cage but it goes nowhere. Flair gets slammed off the top and Garvin does his own figure-four, which makes no sense because Flair hasn’t sold any knee injuries in this match. Flair of course sells like he’s being stabbed. Flair escapes, but Garvin gets to the top and hits a flying bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Flair refreshes his blade job and they climb to the top again. Flair, of course, gets crotched on the top rope as a result, but when Garvin goes for the SUNSET FLIP OF DOOM, Flair sits down and gets two. Garvin reverses for two. Young gets bumped mildly and Garvin hits the PUNCH OF DEATH for two. Garvin goes for something vaguely resembling a cross between a Thesz press and a bodypress, but Flair falls back and slams Garvin’s head into the cage and gets the pin at 17:25 to put us out of our misery. Hope you enjoyed your one brush with greatness, Ron, you won’t get a second one. Huge pop for Flair. So-so match with a weak ending. **1/2 – Okay, so I stole that last two match reviews from my Starrcade 87 rant, so sue me. Like I’m gonna sit through Flair-Garvin again. Starrcade 85, Redux. – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. This is the match that started the downward slide of the NWA. As usual, blame Dusty. I don’t know why they’re closing the tape with it, aside from the obvious ego issues with Rhodes. Slugfest to start, won by Dusty. Flair bails. Back in, it’s chop v. elbow. Guess which wins. Flair bails again. Dusty works a hammerlock, and that goes a while. Flair chops away and drops the knee for two. Kick to the knee and Dusty bails. This was after the Horsemen broke his leg in the parking lot, I believe, because Dusty is wearing one cowboy boot and one special orthapedic cowboy boot. Dusty elbows him from the apron and works on the knee back in. Flair tries a suplex, but Dusty’s localized gravitational pull prevents it. He reverses and keeps at Flair’s knee. His method is basically laying motionless on Flair’s leg. Flair sleeper, but Rhodes escapes and wraps Flair’s leg around the post. Chops are no-sold and Dusty comes back with his own pork-chops, but Flair comes back and goes to the top rope. Quick, kids, what happens next? That’s right, he gets SLAMMED OFF. Flair and Rhodes each block a figure-four, and they slug it out. Flair Flip and they brawl, with Flair hitting the post. Back in, Dusty goes up and tries a bodypress, which ends up as Dusty belly-flopping off the top onto him for two. Good lord, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Dusty hammers on the cut, Flair Flop. Flair comes back, goes after the leg, and gets the figure-four. Dusty easily reverses to break. Elbows and lariat get two for Rhodes. Ref gets bumped on the kickout and tossed. Dusty gets a figure-four, but the Andersons run in and nail him. New ref in, Flair gets two. Dusty cradles for the pin and the title at 22:07. The next week the decision was overturned due to outside interference, marking the very first occurance on a major show of the Dusty Finish. Fear not, junior campers, Dusty would book himself over Flair cleanly a few months later to win his third World title for real. **1/2 The Bottom Line: Well, I didn’t really need all the Dusty Rhodes, but otherwise this is an awesome compilation of all the great stuff from the first 5 Starrcades, and truly has something for everyone, be it scientific wrestling, gory brawling, freakshow gimmick matches or Ron Garvin. Highest recommendation.

Starrcade Countdown (Supplemental): The Best of Starrcade 83-87

The SmarK Retro Rant for the Best of Starrcade 83-87. LET’S GET OLD SCHOOL! This was a tape put out by Crockett in early 88 to celebrate five years of Starrcade, and it’s an unheard-of two tape, four-hour collection of uncut matches from 83-87, and the matchlist shows some truly amazing foresight on the part of the people making the selections. It was in pretty good supply up until a few years ago, too, with most Blockbusters carrying it. And PLEASE don’t e-mail me asking if you can get a copy from me, because it’ll go straight to the recycle bin. Try your local video store or ask at the Death Valley Driver board (www.deathvalleydriver.com) because I’m sure someone there would be more than happy to get you a copy. – Your host is Magnum TAStarrcade 83 – Dog collar match: Greg Valentine v. Rowdy Roddy Piper. Valentine was the US champion, but this is non-title due to the gimmick match. Bigtime bloodfeud here as Piper was crazy over as a babyface. They play tug-of-war with the chain to start, using their necks. Piper whips him with the chain and Valentine backs off. Valentine tries to whip Piper in turn and fails. Slugfest and they back off again. Piper blitzes him, and crotches him with the chain, but Valentinue uses the chain to nail Piper in the injured ear and rubs it in. Ouch. Greg drops the hammer, but Piper kneelifts him and chokes him out. Cool spot sees Piper wrap the chain around the post to trap Valentine in the corner and beat him down with the chain. Greg blades. Valentine chokes him down and Piper bails. They start whipping each other with the chain and slug it out on the apron. Greg goes to the ear to take over. He posts Piper and the ear starts GUSHING blood. Valentine pounds on the ear with the chain. That’s sick. Piper blocks a suplex with a chainshot, but gets elbowed in the ear. Hammer elbow gets two. Another one gets two. Piper spears him and stomps away, but has no balance due to the ear injury. He destroys him with the chain and wins a slugfest, but Valentine clotheslines the dizzy Piper and gets a kneedrop for two. Piper reverses a suplex for the double-KO as Piper bleeds like a pig. Valentine sleeper attempt has Solie writing the match off and nearly packing up the headset to leave, but Piper rears back and KO’s him with the chain. Greg gets a pair of elbows, and misses one off the 2nd rope, allowing Piper to get a fluke pin at 15:15. Slowish but intense and sick brawl. ***1/2 Valentine absolutely massacres Piper afterwards. – NWA World tag title match: Jack & Jerry Brisco v. Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood. Jerry went on to become current McMahon stooge Gerald Brisco, of course, while Youngblood was killed in a plane crash fairly soon after this, sending Steamboat into singles again. Jack & Steamboat start and Jack escapes a chop off a leapfrog sequence. Steamboat gets an armdrag, so Jerry comes in. He can’t get anywhere with Steamboat hiding in the corner. He tries whipping him post to post, but it backfires and Youngblood comes in to work a headlock. Jerry slams out of a hammerlock, but Youngblood simply hangs on. Steamboat comes off the top as they work on Jerry’s arm and prevent a tag. Steamboat gets caught in the heel corner and Jack hotshots him. Kneedrop and Jack hits the chinlock. Steamboat escapes, but gets backdropped and butterfly suplexed for two. Brisco keeps holding a bridge on the pinfall attempt for more near-falls. Now THAT’S cool. Hiptoss into a short-arm scissors gets two. Sweet. Steamboat powers out with that goofy spot you never see anymore, hot tag Youngblood. Jack reverses a suplex, however. D’oh! Briscoes hit a double-shoulderblock and Jerry gets two. Drop suplex gets two. Abdominal stretch rollup gets two. An argument between Jerry and special ref Angelo Mosca allows Jay to get the tag, and it’s HELL ON EARTH. Okay, Solie would never say that, but you’ve gotta change it up sometimes. Big chops for Gerry. Double-chop and Steamboat presses Jay onto Jerry for the pin and the titles at 12:00. Great little fast-paced match there. ***1/2 – NWA World title, cage match: Harley Race v. Ric Flair. This was the culmination of the title bouncing around a few times in the early 80s between Race, Rhodes, Flair and what was supposed to be Ted Dibiase. However, Dibiase got screwed over by politics and ended up never getting that title reign. Flair was the underdog babyface here and Race was the grizzled heel. Flair works a headlock to start, frustrating Race. Flair elbows him and hits the chinlock, and back to a headlock. He walks into a knee, but Race misses a headbutt. Back to the headlock for Flair. He uses it for a couple of two counts. Race suplexes out for two. Elbowdrop misses, but Flair can’t slam him. Race drops a knee and grinds it in, and does it again. Piledriver, but Race doesn’t cover, choosing to wait and drop an elbow instead for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Race keeps dropping knees on Flair’s head like a jerk, then rams him into the cage and hits a shoulderbreaker for two. Flair slugs away from his knees, but Race headbutts him into paste. Back to the cage, but Flair won’t go down. Race argues with special ref Gene Kiniski, as Flair blades. Flair comes back, but gets headbutted again. Flair reverses a cross-corner whip and sends Race to the cage, equalling up the blood tally. Flair styles and profiles, as he stomps Race. Piledriver gets two. Flair works the neck and gets a butterfly suplex for two. Back to the cage a few times, making sure Race hits the pole. Race headbutts him low and rubs his face into the cage. Race tosses him into the cage again, but Flair won’t go down. Headbutt, Flair won’t go down. Flair clips him and drops an elbow, then hammers on the cut. Flair’s face is just a mess of blood. Backdrop suplex sets up the figure-four clean in the middle, but Race eventually reverses. Race headbutts him again and now he goes down. Flair reverses a suplex for two. Race headbutts him down and comes off the 2nd rope with another one for two. Suplex gets two. Race keeps pounding on him, and Solie again declares everything over for the challenger. Flair of course chooses that moment to come back, blocking a suplex and getting one of his own, but misses an elbow. Race headbutts Kiniski by mistake, and Flair goes up with a bodypress to regain the title at 23:46. Kiniski actually blew the spot, as the idea was that Race would knock him down and Gene would get on his hands and knees and trip up Race from behind on the bodypress. Kiniski, however, got up too soon and wasn’t in position to execute properly. Doesn’t hurt an otherwise excellent match too much, but it’s pretty noticeable. Nothing you’d call state-of-the-art here, but everything they did was done well and there was no resting, and Flair’s selling job was something to behold. ****1/2 All the babyfaces celebrate with Flair. Starrcade 84 – World TV title match: Tully Blanchard v. Rick Steamboat. Steamboat is coming in with those pesky DDPish injured ribs. Blanchard goes right for them, but Steamboat fires back and Tully bails. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a splash for two. Steamboat goes to the chinlock and holds on to it as Tully tries to roll out. Tully misses an elbow and takes a kneelift, but Steamboat can’t do anything because of the ribs. Tully goes for them and hits a rib-breaker. Elbow and Steamboat is in some pain. Tully just viciously kicks away at him and struts. Steamboat fights back with a chops and a drops a pair of knees for two. Hit the chinlock. Tully knees him in the ribs like a jerk and suplexes him for two. Steamboat grabs a headlock, but Tully breaks. He dances around, taunting Steamboat, but gets powerslammed for two. Double-chop gets two. Kneedrop and big chop get two. Steamboat spits on him (!) and chops away in the corner. Tully is on rubber leg street. Neckbreaker gets two. Steamboat pulls out Tully’s slingshot suplex for two. Dropkick gets two. Chop and Tully bails, then goes to the tights for an international object. Steamboat suplexes him in and gets a face full of brass knux, for two. To the top, but Steamboat blocks a superplex and splashes him for two. Sunset flip, but Tully blocks and utilizes the international object for the pin at 13:12. Didn’t like the finish, but the match was awesome. Don’t worry, though – Tully gets his in just a little bit… **** – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. Smokin’ Joe Frazier is YOUR special guest referee, and this is for $1,000,000. Solie notes that Dusty is “carrying a little weight” for this match. Well, there’s your understatement of the year. Dusty works the headlock, but Flair chops him. Dusty fires back as Solie then goes over his atheletic background, including a football stint playing the offensive line. The whole thing? Rhodes misses an elbow and Flair chops at him and gets a knee for two. Another one misses and Dusty gets a figure-four. Flair makes the ropes. They roll around the mat, accomplishing nothing. Dusty wins a wristlock battle and elbows him down. Slam and Flair Flop is followed closely by the Flair Flip as he bails. Rhodes suplexes him in for two. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, but Dusty misses an elbow. He just won’t sell here. Flair gets a sleeper, but Dusty dumps him. They brawl and Dusty has an intimate encounter with the ringpost and does his best move – a gory bladejob. Joe Frazier keeps trying to check the cut, but Flair attacks it. Dusty fights back but the match is stopped at 12:07. This is of course the prototype for the Flair-Luger finish at Bash 88 that flopped even worse. Match was too short to be worth anything, and there was no real flow or pace. *1/2 Starrcade 85 – “I Quit” cage match, US title: Tully Blanchard v. Magnum TA. Backstory: They HATE each other. That’s all you need. They slug it out, and fight on the mat like schoolkids, then slug it out again. Tully bails to the apron and TA rams him to the cage. Tully responds in kind, then drops an elbow and does it again. Rear chinlock and Magnum powers out in a rather famous visual. He presses Tully onto the top rope, but gets kneelifted. He slugs away on Tully, but gets tossed into the cage again and they fight on the mat. Tully goes to the cage, and then again out of a hammerlocked position. His arm starts gushing blood, but he headbutts Magnum low. Magnum keeps digging at that arm, but Tully potatoes him, and busts him open. Tully kicks away and uses the mike to pound on Magnum’s face and ask for the submission. Magnum refuses, so Tully rams it into his forehead four times. They actually do this a few times, resulting in the crowd hearing this charming exchange over the PA: “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. Hotshot into the cage and Tully goes up and hits an elbow, then more hijinx with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They slug it out, won by Magnum, and he uses the mike himself. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK. They claw at each other’s eyes on the mat, and Tully knocks TA silly with a right. TA hits his own and grabs the mike, but Tully kicks him in the head to block. Inverted atomic drop and Tully just destroys him with the mike. “SAY IT!” “NO!” THUNK THUNK THUNK He drops some elbows and tosses the ref aside, as Baby Doll throws a balsa-wood chair in, which shatters upon hitting the mat. Ah, American workmanship. Tully grabs a piece and tries to stab Magnum in the eye, but it’s blocked. Magnum grabs it from him, jams it into Tully’s eye, and gets the submission and US title at 14:22. And you thought Mick Foley was hardcore. ***** – NWA World tag team title, cage match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff v. The Rock N Roll Express. This was the Express’ first real shot at winning the belts, as their prime in the sport proved to be only a couple of years. Nikita & Ricky Morton start, and Nikita overpowers Ricky. Morton dropkicks him to no effect. Ivan comes in and gets bodypressed, but crotches Ricky on the top for two. Robert Gibson comes in with a dropkick, slam and kneedrop for two. Ricky gets a fistdrop for two. Robert rolls him up for two. They double-team Ivan for two. Robert ducks a sickle and sends Ivan to the cage, and Ricky comes in with a fistdrop. Again, for two. Robert does the same for two, but gets caught in the communist corner and hotshotted into the cage by Nikita. To the cage another two times for good luck. Ricky keeps charging in like a madman, allowing the Russians to double-team. Ivan sends Robert to the cage and drops an elbow for two. Nikita bites him and poses, and they champs double-team again for two. Ivan crotches himself, but Robert can’t tag. Ricky charges in again, allowing more shenanigans. Ivan drops a leg for two. Nikita hits a chinlock as Robert bleeds. Ivan maintains control and gets two. Back to the cage via Nikita. Robert dropkicks Ivan, bumping the ref. RUSSIAN SICKLE OF DOOM for Robert, no ref. Rick sneaks in on a hot tag, rolls up Ivan, and gets the tag titles at 12:18, nearly blowing the roof off the arena. God, I don’t know how the screaming girls in the audience could keep up the volume for 12 minutes, but somehow they did. The RNR were so over with the females that they made Buff Bagwell look like Harley Race. *** Starrcade 86 – Skywalker match: The Midnight Express v. The Road Warriors. This match has somehow acquired a historic slant that it doesn’t deserve. The Express takes forever to climb up. They all slug it out while crawling around. Condrey and Eaton both toss powder at the Warriors. Hawk gets close to falling off the scaffold, as does Eaton. Both grab a ladder and hang on, however. Both of the Express blade soon after. Dennis crawl away to escape, so Hawk kicks him in the head and they fight on the ladder. Now Animal and Eaton join them, they chickenfight under the scaffolding, and the Express falls off at 7;16. Cornette climbs up to escape Ellering soon after, and gets knocked off himself, buggering his knee for the rest of his life as a result. * – NWA World tag title, cage match: The Rock N Roll Express v. Ole & Arn Anderson. Robert dodges Ole and a pier-six erupts early. Arn gets caught in the wrong corner and retreats. Ole comes in, but can’t escape the RNR either. Ricky outguns him with some speed, and the Horsemen regroup again. Arn tries with Morton, but gets reversed to death. Rock N Roll work the arm, but Robert misses a charge and kneelifts the cage by mistake. Ouch. The Andersons just DIVE for the knee and destroy it. Robert kicks out of a figure-four, but Ole keeps up the punishment with a stepover toehold. Arn goes knee-to-knee on Robert and grinds it in. Robert gets an enzuigiri, tags Ricky, and he promptly goes facefirst to the cage to put a stop to THAT. Ricky Morton plays Ricky Morton and all is right with the world. Ole gets two off a snapmare and Arn bites at him. Back to the cage goes Ricky, and Ole methodically stomps away. Ricky bleeds huge. Arn switches to the arm and Ole keeps at it, slapping an armbar on. Hammerlock slam from Arn gets a pop and he goes to the 2nd rope, but gets nailed coming down. Ole comes in and pounds the arm, however, preventing a tag. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Morton kneelifts Arn, but can’t tag. Ole uses a stepover armlock, and Rick fires back, but Ole keeps at the arm. Rick fights back again, but gets double-teamed INCHES from the tag. The crowd is just about ready to riot at this point. He staggers up and walks into a spinebuster from Arn. D’oh. Ole comes off the top with a kneedrop onto Ricky’s arm, but Ricky won’t quit. Double-KO, but Ricky can’t capitalize. He fires away on Arn, lunges for the tag…and Ole nails him, giving the crowd a heart attack. That’s just mean booking. He small packages Ole for two as Robert finally has had enough and brawls with Arn, distracting the ref long enough for the Express to double dropkick Ole and Ricky gets the pin with his last burst of energy to retain at 19:00. CLASSIC Ricky Morton here. **** Starracade 87 – US title match, cage: Lex Luger v. Dusty Rhodes. If ever anyone earned the Poochie moniker, it’s Dusty Rhodes. I’m shocked he settled for booking himself in the US title match. This is Luger’s title v. Rhodes’ career. That’s hardly a fair trade. Luger is still way green at this point. Luger misses the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit and Rhodes goes to work on the arm. Luger comes back and rams Dusty into the cage — and I hope you’re sitting down, cuz here comes a shocking development — and Rhodes bleeds. Yeah, I know, I’m sitting here thinking “Dusty…blade? In what universe?” but here it is, captured on tape: Dusty actually bleeding. Luger hits the Elbow Which Doth Never Hit. Dusty pulls out a Watts-ian dropkick. Man, that was uglier than Rhodes and his kid combined. Luger gets the Rack, but Dusty is JUST TOO FAT. Who’d have thunk it’d be an advantage to be grossly overweight? I love reviewing Dusty’s matches…it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Seemingly the only reason for the cage’s existance here was to give Big Dust the chance to bleed, because otherwise it’s a standard match and the cage is basically ignored. Luger holds move #193 (ARM-bar) for an extended period of time. Dusty jiggles his fat and makes the comeback. And people think PIPER exposes the business? This fat fuck was out there from 1901 until almost the present day before he finally took the fucking hint and retired. But not until he foisted his idiot son on us. Rhodes gets the sleeperhold, but Dillon knocks out Johnny Weaver (the keeper of the key) and tosses a chair in for Luger. Luger….slowly….picks….up…..the…..chair, allowing Dusty the time to peel his digusting fat ass off the mat and DDT Luger on the chair (no, that wasn’t contrived or unbelievable in the least, Dusty) for the pin and the US title at 16:23. Do I seem bitter? * – NWA World title match: Ron Garvin v. Ric Flair. Everyone always asks why Garvin got the title — short answer is “There was no one else”. Flair wanted to lose the title and regain it at Starrcade, but there was no top babyfaces who were dumb enough to agree to be a lameduck champion. So they got Garvin, who was dumb enough to agree to anything. And then because none of the top heels were dumb enough to put Garvin over when everyone knew Flair was just getting the belt back anyway, they all refused to job to him. So Garvin took a “sabbatical”, thus making him a thoroughly useless champion in the eyes of the fans and the bookers. No wonder Crockett went broke. Inspirational babyface Garvin gets soundly booed by the fans. Again, the first few minutes of this match are clipped. And again, the full version is on Best of Starrcade. We pick it up with Garvin delivering the 10 punch count, and then the GARVIN STOMP OF SLIGHT DISCOMFORT! Flair retaliates with the Great Equalizer and Garvin does a terrible selling job. C’mon, Ronnie, you just got hit in the nuts by the dirtiest player in the game, show some emotion! Flair bounces around the body parts for a bit, then settles on the good ol’ knee. Usual stuff…kneedrops, kneebreaker and then the figure-four. Why does Flair let go when Young looks? It’s no-DQ. Oh well, habit I guess. Garvin reverses. Crowd rewards him with a “Garvin sucks” chant. This was 1987, remember, years before ECW trained fans to be that cynical. Flair decides to have a blading contest with Dusty and taps an artery. They fight to the top of the cage but it goes nowhere. Flair gets slammed off the top and Garvin does his own figure-four, which makes no sense because Flair hasn’t sold any knee injuries in this match. Flair of course sells like he’s being stabbed. Flair escapes, but Garvin gets to the top and hits a flying bodypress for two. Backslide for two. Flair refreshes his blade job and they climb to the top again. Flair, of course, gets crotched on the top rope as a result, but when Garvin goes for the SUNSET FLIP OF DOOM, Flair sits down and gets two. Garvin reverses for two. Young gets bumped mildly and Garvin hits the PUNCH OF DEATH for two. Garvin goes for something vaguely resembling a cross between a Thesz press and a bodypress, but Flair falls back and slams Garvin’s head into the cage and gets the pin at 17:25 to put us out of our misery. Hope you enjoyed your one brush with greatness, Ron, you won’t get a second one. Huge pop for Flair. So-so match with a weak ending. **1/2 – Okay, so I stole that last two match reviews from my Starrcade 87 rant, so sue me. Like I’m gonna sit through Flair-Garvin again. Starrcade 85, Redux. – NWA World title match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes. This is the match that started the downward slide of the NWA. As usual, blame Dusty. I don’t know why they’re closing the tape with it, aside from the obvious ego issues with Rhodes. Slugfest to start, won by Dusty. Flair bails. Back in, it’s chop v. elbow. Guess which wins. Flair bails again. Dusty works a hammerlock, and that goes a while. Flair chops away and drops the knee for two. Kick to the knee and Dusty bails. This was after the Horsemen broke his leg in the parking lot, I believe, because Dusty is wearing one cowboy boot and one special orthapedic cowboy boot. Dusty elbows him from the apron and works on the knee back in. Flair tries a suplex, but Dusty’s localized gravitational pull prevents it. He reverses and keeps at Flair’s knee. His method is basically laying motionless on Flair’s leg. Flair sleeper, but Rhodes escapes and wraps Flair’s leg around the post. Chops are no-sold and Dusty comes back with his own pork-chops, but Flair comes back and goes to the top rope. Quick, kids, what happens next? That’s right, he gets SLAMMED OFF. Flair and Rhodes each block a figure-four, and they slug it out. Flair Flip and they brawl, with Flair hitting the post. Back in, Dusty goes up and tries a bodypress, which ends up as Dusty belly-flopping off the top onto him for two. Good lord, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. Dusty hammers on the cut, Flair Flop. Flair comes back, goes after the leg, and gets the figure-four. Dusty easily reverses to break. Elbows and lariat get two for Rhodes. Ref gets bumped on the kickout and tossed. Dusty gets a figure-four, but the Andersons run in and nail him. New ref in, Flair gets two. Dusty cradles for the pin and the title at 22:07. The next week the decision was overturned due to outside interference, marking the very first occurance on a major show of the Dusty Finish. Fear not, junior campers, Dusty would book himself over Flair cleanly a few months later to win his third World title for real. **1/2 The Bottom Line: Well, I didn’t really need all the Dusty Rhodes, but otherwise this is an awesome compilation of all the great stuff from the first 5 Starrcades, and truly has something for everyone, be it scientific wrestling, gory brawling, freakshow gimmick matches or Ron Garvin. Highest recommendation.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.14.2011

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!) – 12.14.2011 Being the generous guy that I am, I figured that I’d give New Avengers (aka Dark Avengers v2) another chance to wow me before I moved on and forgot about it, so we’ll see if a second chance redeems it. And that’s as good a place as any to start…New Avengers #19 See, last time around, at least I knew who the major villains portraying the Avengers were. Bullseye was in the crappy Daredevil movie, Daken is Wolverine’s son, Venom is Venom, good enough. This time around, we’ve got a six-armed dude playing Spider-Man, someone named Gorgon as Wolverine, and apparently Hulk has a son who doesn’t like him. None of this is explained by Brian Michael Bendis outside of the long-winded introductions from the last issue where no actual information was given. I really dislike feeling like I need to go to Wikipedia to follow the damn plot of a comic book, and that’s exactly the feeling this is giving me. Plus, even the people on the Dark Avengers make an excellent point: Norman Osborn already tried this once and failed spectacularly at it, so why try it again? There’s some amusing stuff outside of the primary selling point of this arc, like Squirrel Girl acting as nanny for Luke Cage’s baby, and that’s the kind of plot point that I’d like to read more about. We know Osborn is insane and his team of loser villains aren’t going to win this battle, so why build it up as something it can’t deliver? Also, this one has one of my pet peeves, in that the cover has absolutely no connection to anything going on inside the book. It’s not even the same Spider-Man costume! I might actually try the main Avengers team given that they’re rebooting the team yet again, but this doesn’t appear to be the title for me. Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #4 The rollicking fun of Atomic Robo continues, with the team on the run from shady bad guys with big guns, leading to their transportation getting sadly totalled. The only solution to continue their quest for the mystery Station X? A CONVOY! For SCIENCE! Robo bonding with his new ride (“You’re Tucker the Trucker?” “Well, you’re Robo the Robot.” “Well played.”) absolutely cracked me up for some reason. There’s some really great dialogue here, plus the comic book equivalent of whip-pan gags and some good old-fashioned Bugs Bunny “imitating the boss over the phone” jokes as well. This didn’t feel as good as the rest of the series has been thus far, but I can’t really put my finger on why that would be. I’ll be kind of sad when this volume wraps up next issue, but they’ve got everything set up for the big finale and I’m really curious what the big conspiracy behind everything is all about. Big thumbs up here. And now for the regularly scheduled DC product… Batwoman #4 Speaking of big thumbs up, Batwoman continues to be the must-see comic of the New 52. The story is moving at a good pace now, and I know I say this every week but holy shit this artwork from JH Williams might be the best I’ve ever seen in a mainstream book. Batwoman coming into a window, and her cape forming the panels of a double-page spread? Wow. Plus the beginning of the book is fantastic, with Flamebird striking out on her own and quickly regretting her cocky attitude, while Kate makes sweet sweet Sapphic love to Maggie Sawyer in contrasting panels. It’s such a simple storytelling device, but the dreamlike layout of Kate’s panels overlaid on the harsh, realistic beating taking by Flamebird…WOW. And then it gets even BETTER, with Cameron Chase using the brutalized sidekick to finally figure out Batwoman’s identity, because she’s both awesome and kind of a dick. This is the kind of series that makes me excited to be a comic fan again. Feels like everything is going to be a letdown after starting with that one, but we’ll see what happens. Green Lantern #4 OK, so the cliffhanger at the end of #3, with Hal Jordan apparently getting vaporized after diving into the yellow power battery, was good enough to bring me back again. And yeah, the whole story arc of Sinestro The Green Lantern is a pretty good one, mainly because GL is Geoff John’s baby and he’ll do everything to make sure it gets over. As expected, Hal is not actually dead because things weren’t quite what the cliffhanger suggested, and instead he’s just thrown into Korugar prison until his faux-ring can lose power. Sinestro, meanwhile, gets tortured by his former cronies and thrown in with his very angry former subjects, at which point Hal (who never thinks things through) has a great suggestion: Give all the disgruntled Korugans (who want to kill Sinestro themselves) their own fake power ring, and even if it only lasts for 10 minutes they can still wipe out the bad guys through sheer numbers. Of course, Sinestro learns the fatal flaw in that plan moments after enacting it, and we have another cliffhanger. Obviously my meagre say-so isn’t going to boost sales numbers much more than they already are, but I’m digging this series despite myself, because Sinestro’s redemption is an interesting plot twist and Johns is keeping it exceedingly simple (unlike the other two Green Lantern titles I have now dropped). Batgirl #4 Gail Simone continues to drag out the secret behind Barbara’s escape from the wheelchair, dropping another hint about a clinic where they most definitely were not supposed to perform miracles. I’ve kinda been sticking around just to find out the damn reason, because the plot has been all over the place so far in this series. This one is the big showdown with The Mirror (in a funhouse Hall of Mirrors for extra sledgehammer of theme) and aside from Barbara moping around on Christmas Eve there’s not much going on here. I gave it four issues, but I’m done. Grifter #4 Green Arrow? That’s supposed to be the big sales booster? I guess Batman has already been taken by a bunch of other titles for crossover. I dunno, the first couple of issues were interesting, but I don’t have any vested interest in Cole Cash and there hasn’t been much else going on besides him shooting at people and running from the law. Aliens are invading, and Green Arrow wants to know why! I don’t. Dropped. And finally this week… Batman & Robin #4 Definitely the second-best of the Batman titles, but that’s not really a criticism because ain’t nothing touching Scott Snyder’s Batman right now. I just find it really fascinating that Peter Tomasi can take such an unlikeable little shit like Damian Wayne and make a very good story around him. Really, this title is more Robin (also starring Batman) but given the abundance of Batman around the DCU right now, it’s OK for this one to focus on Damian’s daddy issues and serial killer tendencies. In this case, our heroes have been put in a bad way by Nobody, who Batman figures out to be the son of Henri Ducard, aka his original trainer. Another good cliffhanger here, as Damian decides that maybe emotionally unavailable Bruce Wayne might not be the best choice to be guiding his life. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Damian killed off in definitive fashion TOMORROW so that Tim Drake or even Jason Todd can reclaim the Robin costume, but this is good stuff regardless. So Batwoman of course wins the week, and Grifter gets dropped.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.14.2011

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!) – 12.14.2011 Being the generous guy that I am, I figured that I’d give New Avengers (aka Dark Avengers v2) another chance to wow me before I moved on and forgot about it, so we’ll see if a second chance redeems it. And that’s as good a place as any to start…New Avengers #19 See, last time around, at least I knew who the major villains portraying the Avengers were. Bullseye was in the crappy Daredevil movie, Daken is Wolverine’s son, Venom is Venom, good enough. This time around, we’ve got a six-armed dude playing Spider-Man, someone named Gorgon as Wolverine, and apparently Hulk has a son who doesn’t like him. None of this is explained by Brian Michael Bendis outside of the long-winded introductions from the last issue where no actual information was given. I really dislike feeling like I need to go to Wikipedia to follow the damn plot of a comic book, and that’s exactly the feeling this is giving me. Plus, even the people on the Dark Avengers make an excellent point: Norman Osborn already tried this once and failed spectacularly at it, so why try it again? There’s some amusing stuff outside of the primary selling point of this arc, like Squirrel Girl acting as nanny for Luke Cage’s baby, and that’s the kind of plot point that I’d like to read more about. We know Osborn is insane and his team of loser villains aren’t going to win this battle, so why build it up as something it can’t deliver? Also, this one has one of my pet peeves, in that the cover has absolutely no connection to anything going on inside the book. It’s not even the same Spider-Man costume! I might actually try the main Avengers team given that they’re rebooting the team yet again, but this doesn’t appear to be the title for me. Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #4 The rollicking fun of Atomic Robo continues, with the team on the run from shady bad guys with big guns, leading to their transportation getting sadly totalled. The only solution to continue their quest for the mystery Station X? A CONVOY! For SCIENCE! Robo bonding with his new ride (“You’re Tucker the Trucker?” “Well, you’re Robo the Robot.” “Well played.”) absolutely cracked me up for some reason. There’s some really great dialogue here, plus the comic book equivalent of whip-pan gags and some good old-fashioned Bugs Bunny “imitating the boss over the phone” jokes as well. This didn’t feel as good as the rest of the series has been thus far, but I can’t really put my finger on why that would be. I’ll be kind of sad when this volume wraps up next issue, but they’ve got everything set up for the big finale and I’m really curious what the big conspiracy behind everything is all about. Big thumbs up here. And now for the regularly scheduled DC product… Batwoman #4 Speaking of big thumbs up, Batwoman continues to be the must-see comic of the New 52. The story is moving at a good pace now, and I know I say this every week but holy shit this artwork from JH Williams might be the best I’ve ever seen in a mainstream book. Batwoman coming into a window, and her cape forming the panels of a double-page spread? Wow. Plus the beginning of the book is fantastic, with Flamebird striking out on her own and quickly regretting her cocky attitude, while Kate makes sweet sweet Sapphic love to Maggie Sawyer in contrasting panels. It’s such a simple storytelling device, but the dreamlike layout of Kate’s panels overlaid on the harsh, realistic beating taking by Flamebird…WOW. And then it gets even BETTER, with Cameron Chase using the brutalized sidekick to finally figure out Batwoman’s identity, because she’s both awesome and kind of a dick. This is the kind of series that makes me excited to be a comic fan again. Feels like everything is going to be a letdown after starting with that one, but we’ll see what happens. Green Lantern #4 OK, so the cliffhanger at the end of #3, with Hal Jordan apparently getting vaporized after diving into the yellow power battery, was good enough to bring me back again. And yeah, the whole story arc of Sinestro The Green Lantern is a pretty good one, mainly because GL is Geoff John’s baby and he’ll do everything to make sure it gets over. As expected, Hal is not actually dead because things weren’t quite what the cliffhanger suggested, and instead he’s just thrown into Korugar prison until his faux-ring can lose power. Sinestro, meanwhile, gets tortured by his former cronies and thrown in with his very angry former subjects, at which point Hal (who never thinks things through) has a great suggestion: Give all the disgruntled Korugans (who want to kill Sinestro themselves) their own fake power ring, and even if it only lasts for 10 minutes they can still wipe out the bad guys through sheer numbers. Of course, Sinestro learns the fatal flaw in that plan moments after enacting it, and we have another cliffhanger. Obviously my meagre say-so isn’t going to boost sales numbers much more than they already are, but I’m digging this series despite myself, because Sinestro’s redemption is an interesting plot twist and Johns is keeping it exceedingly simple (unlike the other two Green Lantern titles I have now dropped). Batgirl #4 Gail Simone continues to drag out the secret behind Barbara’s escape from the wheelchair, dropping another hint about a clinic where they most definitely were not supposed to perform miracles. I’ve kinda been sticking around just to find out the damn reason, because the plot has been all over the place so far in this series. This one is the big showdown with The Mirror (in a funhouse Hall of Mirrors for extra sledgehammer of theme) and aside from Barbara moping around on Christmas Eve there’s not much going on here. I gave it four issues, but I’m done. Grifter #4 Green Arrow? That’s supposed to be the big sales booster? I guess Batman has already been taken by a bunch of other titles for crossover. I dunno, the first couple of issues were interesting, but I don’t have any vested interest in Cole Cash and there hasn’t been much else going on besides him shooting at people and running from the law. Aliens are invading, and Green Arrow wants to know why! I don’t. Dropped. And finally this week… Batman & Robin #4 Definitely the second-best of the Batman titles, but that’s not really a criticism because ain’t nothing touching Scott Snyder’s Batman right now. I just find it really fascinating that Peter Tomasi can take such an unlikeable little shit like Damian Wayne and make a very good story around him. Really, this title is more Robin (also starring Batman) but given the abundance of Batman around the DCU right now, it’s OK for this one to focus on Damian’s daddy issues and serial killer tendencies. In this case, our heroes have been put in a bad way by Nobody, who Batman figures out to be the son of Henri Ducard, aka his original trainer. Another good cliffhanger here, as Damian decides that maybe emotionally unavailable Bruce Wayne might not be the best choice to be guiding his life. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Damian killed off in definitive fashion TOMORROW so that Tim Drake or even Jason Todd can reclaim the Robin costume, but this is good stuff regardless. So Batwoman of course wins the week, and Grifter gets dropped.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.14.2011

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!) – 12.14.2011 Being the generous guy that I am, I figured that I’d give New Avengers (aka Dark Avengers v2) another chance to wow me before I moved on and forgot about it, so we’ll see if a second chance redeems it. And that’s as good a place as any to start…New Avengers #19 See, last time around, at least I knew who the major villains portraying the Avengers were. Bullseye was in the crappy Daredevil movie, Daken is Wolverine’s son, Venom is Venom, good enough. This time around, we’ve got a six-armed dude playing Spider-Man, someone named Gorgon as Wolverine, and apparently Hulk has a son who doesn’t like him. None of this is explained by Brian Michael Bendis outside of the long-winded introductions from the last issue where no actual information was given. I really dislike feeling like I need to go to Wikipedia to follow the damn plot of a comic book, and that’s exactly the feeling this is giving me. Plus, even the people on the Dark Avengers make an excellent point: Norman Osborn already tried this once and failed spectacularly at it, so why try it again? There’s some amusing stuff outside of the primary selling point of this arc, like Squirrel Girl acting as nanny for Luke Cage’s baby, and that’s the kind of plot point that I’d like to read more about. We know Osborn is insane and his team of loser villains aren’t going to win this battle, so why build it up as something it can’t deliver? Also, this one has one of my pet peeves, in that the cover has absolutely no connection to anything going on inside the book. It’s not even the same Spider-Man costume! I might actually try the main Avengers team given that they’re rebooting the team yet again, but this doesn’t appear to be the title for me. Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #4 The rollicking fun of Atomic Robo continues, with the team on the run from shady bad guys with big guns, leading to their transportation getting sadly totalled. The only solution to continue their quest for the mystery Station X? A CONVOY! For SCIENCE! Robo bonding with his new ride (“You’re Tucker the Trucker?” “Well, you’re Robo the Robot.” “Well played.”) absolutely cracked me up for some reason. There’s some really great dialogue here, plus the comic book equivalent of whip-pan gags and some good old-fashioned Bugs Bunny “imitating the boss over the phone” jokes as well. This didn’t feel as good as the rest of the series has been thus far, but I can’t really put my finger on why that would be. I’ll be kind of sad when this volume wraps up next issue, but they’ve got everything set up for the big finale and I’m really curious what the big conspiracy behind everything is all about. Big thumbs up here. And now for the regularly scheduled DC product… Batwoman #4 Speaking of big thumbs up, Batwoman continues to be the must-see comic of the New 52. The story is moving at a good pace now, and I know I say this every week but holy shit this artwork from JH Williams might be the best I’ve ever seen in a mainstream book. Batwoman coming into a window, and her cape forming the panels of a double-page spread? Wow. Plus the beginning of the book is fantastic, with Flamebird striking out on her own and quickly regretting her cocky attitude, while Kate makes sweet sweet Sapphic love to Maggie Sawyer in contrasting panels. It’s such a simple storytelling device, but the dreamlike layout of Kate’s panels overlaid on the harsh, realistic beating taking by Flamebird…WOW. And then it gets even BETTER, with Cameron Chase using the brutalized sidekick to finally figure out Batwoman’s identity, because she’s both awesome and kind of a dick. This is the kind of series that makes me excited to be a comic fan again. Feels like everything is going to be a letdown after starting with that one, but we’ll see what happens. Green Lantern #4 OK, so the cliffhanger at the end of #3, with Hal Jordan apparently getting vaporized after diving into the yellow power battery, was good enough to bring me back again. And yeah, the whole story arc of Sinestro The Green Lantern is a pretty good one, mainly because GL is Geoff John’s baby and he’ll do everything to make sure it gets over. As expected, Hal is not actually dead because things weren’t quite what the cliffhanger suggested, and instead he’s just thrown into Korugar prison until his faux-ring can lose power. Sinestro, meanwhile, gets tortured by his former cronies and thrown in with his very angry former subjects, at which point Hal (who never thinks things through) has a great suggestion: Give all the disgruntled Korugans (who want to kill Sinestro themselves) their own fake power ring, and even if it only lasts for 10 minutes they can still wipe out the bad guys through sheer numbers. Of course, Sinestro learns the fatal flaw in that plan moments after enacting it, and we have another cliffhanger. Obviously my meagre say-so isn’t going to boost sales numbers much more than they already are, but I’m digging this series despite myself, because Sinestro’s redemption is an interesting plot twist and Johns is keeping it exceedingly simple (unlike the other two Green Lantern titles I have now dropped). Batgirl #4 Gail Simone continues to drag out the secret behind Barbara’s escape from the wheelchair, dropping another hint about a clinic where they most definitely were not supposed to perform miracles. I’ve kinda been sticking around just to find out the damn reason, because the plot has been all over the place so far in this series. This one is the big showdown with The Mirror (in a funhouse Hall of Mirrors for extra sledgehammer of theme) and aside from Barbara moping around on Christmas Eve there’s not much going on here. I gave it four issues, but I’m done. Grifter #4 Green Arrow? That’s supposed to be the big sales booster? I guess Batman has already been taken by a bunch of other titles for crossover. I dunno, the first couple of issues were interesting, but I don’t have any vested interest in Cole Cash and there hasn’t been much else going on besides him shooting at people and running from the law. Aliens are invading, and Green Arrow wants to know why! I don’t. Dropped. And finally this week… Batman & Robin #4 Definitely the second-best of the Batman titles, but that’s not really a criticism because ain’t nothing touching Scott Snyder’s Batman right now. I just find it really fascinating that Peter Tomasi can take such an unlikeable little shit like Damian Wayne and make a very good story around him. Really, this title is more Robin (also starring Batman) but given the abundance of Batman around the DCU right now, it’s OK for this one to focus on Damian’s daddy issues and serial killer tendencies. In this case, our heroes have been put in a bad way by Nobody, who Batman figures out to be the son of Henri Ducard, aka his original trainer. Another good cliffhanger here, as Damian decides that maybe emotionally unavailable Bruce Wayne might not be the best choice to be guiding his life. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Damian killed off in definitive fashion TOMORROW so that Tim Drake or even Jason Todd can reclaim the Robin costume, but this is good stuff regardless. So Batwoman of course wins the week, and Grifter gets dropped.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.14.2011

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!) – 12.14.2011 Being the generous guy that I am, I figured that I’d give New Avengers (aka Dark Avengers v2) another chance to wow me before I moved on and forgot about it, so we’ll see if a second chance redeems it. And that’s as good a place as any to start…New Avengers #19 See, last time around, at least I knew who the major villains portraying the Avengers were. Bullseye was in the crappy Daredevil movie, Daken is Wolverine’s son, Venom is Venom, good enough. This time around, we’ve got a six-armed dude playing Spider-Man, someone named Gorgon as Wolverine, and apparently Hulk has a son who doesn’t like him. None of this is explained by Brian Michael Bendis outside of the long-winded introductions from the last issue where no actual information was given. I really dislike feeling like I need to go to Wikipedia to follow the damn plot of a comic book, and that’s exactly the feeling this is giving me. Plus, even the people on the Dark Avengers make an excellent point: Norman Osborn already tried this once and failed spectacularly at it, so why try it again? There’s some amusing stuff outside of the primary selling point of this arc, like Squirrel Girl acting as nanny for Luke Cage’s baby, and that’s the kind of plot point that I’d like to read more about. We know Osborn is insane and his team of loser villains aren’t going to win this battle, so why build it up as something it can’t deliver? Also, this one has one of my pet peeves, in that the cover has absolutely no connection to anything going on inside the book. It’s not even the same Spider-Man costume! I might actually try the main Avengers team given that they’re rebooting the team yet again, but this doesn’t appear to be the title for me. Atomic Robo and The Ghost of Station X #4 The rollicking fun of Atomic Robo continues, with the team on the run from shady bad guys with big guns, leading to their transportation getting sadly totalled. The only solution to continue their quest for the mystery Station X? A CONVOY! For SCIENCE! Robo bonding with his new ride (“You’re Tucker the Trucker?” “Well, you’re Robo the Robot.” “Well played.”) absolutely cracked me up for some reason. There’s some really great dialogue here, plus the comic book equivalent of whip-pan gags and some good old-fashioned Bugs Bunny “imitating the boss over the phone” jokes as well. This didn’t feel as good as the rest of the series has been thus far, but I can’t really put my finger on why that would be. I’ll be kind of sad when this volume wraps up next issue, but they’ve got everything set up for the big finale and I’m really curious what the big conspiracy behind everything is all about. Big thumbs up here. And now for the regularly scheduled DC product… Batwoman #4 Speaking of big thumbs up, Batwoman continues to be the must-see comic of the New 52. The story is moving at a good pace now, and I know I say this every week but holy shit this artwork from JH Williams might be the best I’ve ever seen in a mainstream book. Batwoman coming into a window, and her cape forming the panels of a double-page spread? Wow. Plus the beginning of the book is fantastic, with Flamebird striking out on her own and quickly regretting her cocky attitude, while Kate makes sweet sweet Sapphic love to Maggie Sawyer in contrasting panels. It’s such a simple storytelling device, but the dreamlike layout of Kate’s panels overlaid on the harsh, realistic beating taking by Flamebird…WOW. And then it gets even BETTER, with Cameron Chase using the brutalized sidekick to finally figure out Batwoman’s identity, because she’s both awesome and kind of a dick. This is the kind of series that makes me excited to be a comic fan again. Feels like everything is going to be a letdown after starting with that one, but we’ll see what happens. Green Lantern #4 OK, so the cliffhanger at the end of #3, with Hal Jordan apparently getting vaporized after diving into the yellow power battery, was good enough to bring me back again. And yeah, the whole story arc of Sinestro The Green Lantern is a pretty good one, mainly because GL is Geoff John’s baby and he’ll do everything to make sure it gets over. As expected, Hal is not actually dead because things weren’t quite what the cliffhanger suggested, and instead he’s just thrown into Korugar prison until his faux-ring can lose power. Sinestro, meanwhile, gets tortured by his former cronies and thrown in with his very angry former subjects, at which point Hal (who never thinks things through) has a great suggestion: Give all the disgruntled Korugans (who want to kill Sinestro themselves) their own fake power ring, and even if it only lasts for 10 minutes they can still wipe out the bad guys through sheer numbers. Of course, Sinestro learns the fatal flaw in that plan moments after enacting it, and we have another cliffhanger. Obviously my meagre say-so isn’t going to boost sales numbers much more than they already are, but I’m digging this series despite myself, because Sinestro’s redemption is an interesting plot twist and Johns is keeping it exceedingly simple (unlike the other two Green Lantern titles I have now dropped). Batgirl #4 Gail Simone continues to drag out the secret behind Barbara’s escape from the wheelchair, dropping another hint about a clinic where they most definitely were not supposed to perform miracles. I’ve kinda been sticking around just to find out the damn reason, because the plot has been all over the place so far in this series. This one is the big showdown with The Mirror (in a funhouse Hall of Mirrors for extra sledgehammer of theme) and aside from Barbara moping around on Christmas Eve there’s not much going on here. I gave it four issues, but I’m done. Grifter #4 Green Arrow? That’s supposed to be the big sales booster? I guess Batman has already been taken by a bunch of other titles for crossover. I dunno, the first couple of issues were interesting, but I don’t have any vested interest in Cole Cash and there hasn’t been much else going on besides him shooting at people and running from the law. Aliens are invading, and Green Arrow wants to know why! I don’t. Dropped. And finally this week… Batman & Robin #4 Definitely the second-best of the Batman titles, but that’s not really a criticism because ain’t nothing touching Scott Snyder’s Batman right now. I just find it really fascinating that Peter Tomasi can take such an unlikeable little shit like Damian Wayne and make a very good story around him. Really, this title is more Robin (also starring Batman) but given the abundance of Batman around the DCU right now, it’s OK for this one to focus on Damian’s daddy issues and serial killer tendencies. In this case, our heroes have been put in a bad way by Nobody, who Batman figures out to be the son of Henri Ducard, aka his original trainer. Another good cliffhanger here, as Damian decides that maybe emotionally unavailable Bruce Wayne might not be the best choice to be guiding his life. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Damian killed off in definitive fashion TOMORROW so that Tim Drake or even Jason Todd can reclaim the Robin costume, but this is good stuff regardless. So Batwoman of course wins the week, and Grifter gets dropped.

Undertaker

It became apparent to me at last year’s WrestleMania that the Undertaker does not have many WrestleMania’s left, and that he may be able to add one or two matches onto the streak before retiring.  I was trying to think of a ‘wish-list’ of who I’d like to see go against Taker in the upcoming WrestleMania, and was wondering if you had any ideas?  For me personally, I would like to see one of these three:
Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker (Mask vs. Streak)
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker (Submission or ‘I Quit’ match)
John Cena vs. The Undertaker where Cena actually ends the streak.

Well it’s already set in stone as HHH v. Undertaker against this year, so I’m afraid your fantasy booking will be set back a bit.  And given that Undertaker is now on a one match per year schedule, this would probably be the last one.  I’m sure we’ll get HHH putting his career on the line here as well, although he’s down to bombing on two or three PPVs per year now himself.  But yeah, next year should probably be Cena v. Undertaker, although there’s no need to end the streak.  It’s the only title in wrestling that fans actually care about anymore and the only one that draws. 

Undertaker

It became apparent to me at last year’s WrestleMania that the Undertaker does not have many WrestleMania’s left, and that he may be able to add one or two matches onto the streak before retiring.  I was trying to think of a ‘wish-list’ of who I’d like to see go against Taker in the upcoming WrestleMania, and was wondering if you had any ideas?  For me personally, I would like to see one of these three:
Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker (Mask vs. Streak)
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker (Submission or ‘I Quit’ match)
John Cena vs. The Undertaker where Cena actually ends the streak.

Well it’s already set in stone as HHH v. Undertaker against this year, so I’m afraid your fantasy booking will be set back a bit.  And given that Undertaker is now on a one match per year schedule, this would probably be the last one.  I’m sure we’ll get HHH putting his career on the line here as well, although he’s down to bombing on two or three PPVs per year now himself.  But yeah, next year should probably be Cena v. Undertaker, although there’s no need to end the streak.  It’s the only title in wrestling that fans actually care about anymore and the only one that draws. 

Undertaker

It became apparent to me at last year’s WrestleMania that the Undertaker does not have many WrestleMania’s left, and that he may be able to add one or two matches onto the streak before retiring.  I was trying to think of a ‘wish-list’ of who I’d like to see go against Taker in the upcoming WrestleMania, and was wondering if you had any ideas?  For me personally, I would like to see one of these three:
Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker (Mask vs. Streak)
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker (Submission or ‘I Quit’ match)
John Cena vs. The Undertaker where Cena actually ends the streak.

Well it’s already set in stone as HHH v. Undertaker against this year, so I’m afraid your fantasy booking will be set back a bit.  And given that Undertaker is now on a one match per year schedule, this would probably be the last one.  I’m sure we’ll get HHH putting his career on the line here as well, although he’s down to bombing on two or three PPVs per year now himself.  But yeah, next year should probably be Cena v. Undertaker, although there’s no need to end the streak.  It’s the only title in wrestling that fans actually care about anymore and the only one that draws. 

Undertaker

It became apparent to me at last year’s WrestleMania that the Undertaker does not have many WrestleMania’s left, and that he may be able to add one or two matches onto the streak before retiring.  I was trying to think of a ‘wish-list’ of who I’d like to see go against Taker in the upcoming WrestleMania, and was wondering if you had any ideas?  For me personally, I would like to see one of these three:
Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker (Mask vs. Streak)
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker (Submission or ‘I Quit’ match)
John Cena vs. The Undertaker where Cena actually ends the streak.

Well it’s already set in stone as HHH v. Undertaker against this year, so I’m afraid your fantasy booking will be set back a bit.  And given that Undertaker is now on a one match per year schedule, this would probably be the last one.  I’m sure we’ll get HHH putting his career on the line here as well, although he’s down to bombing on two or three PPVs per year now himself.  But yeah, next year should probably be Cena v. Undertaker, although there’s no need to end the streak.  It’s the only title in wrestling that fans actually care about anymore and the only one that draws. 

Brad Armstrong

Hey Scott, Quick question, what the hell was with the “Candyman” gimmick for Brad Armstong in WCW?  They didn’t even call him Brad Armstrong, just “Candyman.”  What the hell was that? 

Just another attempt to get him over, this time by appealing to the often-ignored NAMBLA sector of their audience, I guess.  They could have had him drive up to the arena in a windowless white van to really hammer the character home.  However, it’s not like Candyman was any stupider than Badstreet, Arachnaman, or Buzzkill as far as knockoff gimmicks go.  Ironically, the one time he did almost get over was the feud with Brian Pillman in 1992, where Pillman turned heel on him and they were set to compete for the Light heavyweight title under Bill Watts.  That was going really well, including a famously improvised **** match with Great Muta on WCW Saturday Night, so of course Armstrong suffered a leg injury just before defending the title against Pillman, and was not only out for a long time, but basically finished as a high flyer to boot.  Sucks to be Brad.

Brad Armstrong

Hey Scott, Quick question, what the hell was with the “Candyman” gimmick for Brad Armstong in WCW?  They didn’t even call him Brad Armstrong, just “Candyman.”  What the hell was that? 

Just another attempt to get him over, this time by appealing to the often-ignored NAMBLA sector of their audience, I guess.  They could have had him drive up to the arena in a windowless white van to really hammer the character home.  However, it’s not like Candyman was any stupider than Badstreet, Arachnaman, or Buzzkill as far as knockoff gimmicks go.  Ironically, the one time he did almost get over was the feud with Brian Pillman in 1992, where Pillman turned heel on him and they were set to compete for the Light heavyweight title under Bill Watts.  That was going really well, including a famously improvised **** match with Great Muta on WCW Saturday Night, so of course Armstrong suffered a leg injury just before defending the title against Pillman, and was not only out for a long time, but basically finished as a high flyer to boot.  Sucks to be Brad.

Brad Armstrong

Hey Scott, Quick question, what the hell was with the “Candyman” gimmick for Brad Armstong in WCW?  They didn’t even call him Brad Armstrong, just “Candyman.”  What the hell was that? 

Just another attempt to get him over, this time by appealing to the often-ignored NAMBLA sector of their audience, I guess.  They could have had him drive up to the arena in a windowless white van to really hammer the character home.  However, it’s not like Candyman was any stupider than Badstreet, Arachnaman, or Buzzkill as far as knockoff gimmicks go.  Ironically, the one time he did almost get over was the feud with Brian Pillman in 1992, where Pillman turned heel on him and they were set to compete for the Light heavyweight title under Bill Watts.  That was going really well, including a famously improvised **** match with Great Muta on WCW Saturday Night, so of course Armstrong suffered a leg injury just before defending the title against Pillman, and was not only out for a long time, but basically finished as a high flyer to boot.  Sucks to be Brad.

Brad Armstrong

Hey Scott, Quick question, what the hell was with the “Candyman” gimmick for Brad Armstong in WCW?  They didn’t even call him Brad Armstrong, just “Candyman.”  What the hell was that? 

Just another attempt to get him over, this time by appealing to the often-ignored NAMBLA sector of their audience, I guess.  They could have had him drive up to the arena in a windowless white van to really hammer the character home.  However, it’s not like Candyman was any stupider than Badstreet, Arachnaman, or Buzzkill as far as knockoff gimmicks go.  Ironically, the one time he did almost get over was the feud with Brian Pillman in 1992, where Pillman turned heel on him and they were set to compete for the Light heavyweight title under Bill Watts.  That was going really well, including a famously improvised **** match with Great Muta on WCW Saturday Night, so of course Armstrong suffered a leg injury just before defending the title against Pillman, and was not only out for a long time, but basically finished as a high flyer to boot.  Sucks to be Brad.

Starrcade Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WCW Starrcade 2000 – Well, it’s time for the grand-daddy of them all again, which is appropriate because most of the main eventers are grandfathers. – For the morbidly curious out there, I scanned the pictures of the charred remains of my ex-apartment and posted them at my personal home page, http://members.home.net/netcopnews. Collect ‘em all and trade with your friends! (2011 Scott sez:  That page no longer exists, so don’t waste your time clicking it.  However, if you want to see what Rantsylvania looked like around 1999 via the Wayback Machine, check it out here:  http://web.archive.org/web/19990825002620/http://members.home.net/netcopnews/ That’s what you call minimalist web design, I’d say.)  – No Mercy update: After umpteen frustrating runs in the World title gauntlet, being hammered by the New Age Outlaws in a handicap match, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Scott Steiner to deal with the situation. Armed with about 12 different suplex variations and the Screwdriver as a finisher, I proceeded to pound them in 2:00 to advance and finish the track. I’m stuck at 96%, however, and can’t figure out what block I’m missing – it seems to be the second from the left, on the “Win the Royal Rumble and deal with HHH’s goons for two months” block, but everything in that path is a must-win one, so I’m at a loss to figure it out. Oh well, gotta keep playing and find out, I guess.  (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t worry, I figured it out.) – Live from Washington, DC. Home of President Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush.  (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t do many attempts at political humor.  But when I do, I make sure to go with overstrike jokes!)  – Your hosts are Tony, Mark & Scott. So Madden gets punished by being allowed to do the PPV and Stevie Ray gets bumped? SOMEONE CALL BOBBY WALKER! – Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons v. Knoble & Karagias. Chavito (now using Eddy’s discarded “Low Rider” knockoff theme) does color commentary. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting “boring” 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love ‘em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunn’s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who fucked who’s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. (2011 Scott sez:  Amusing to note that Noble & Helms would go to WWE together and get involved in an even more ridiculous storyline about superhero stalkers and Blind Nidia a couple of years after this.)  Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. (2011 Scott sez:  Ha ha, I bet they all have to take excessive painkillers to deal with the stress on their backs!  Good thing that will never come back to bite anyone ever.)  Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, too… Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, and I doubt anything tonight is gonna touch it. ***3/4 – Meanwhile, Kroni>| enjoys a completely heterosexual steambath. – Lance Storm v. The Cat. Storm draws a standing ovation from us by pointing out that Canada elected their leader in one day, while it took two months for the US to elect theirs. Stalling to start. Cat gets a big kick, but gets tripped up by Major Gunns. Storm pounds away. Cat comes back with a ballshot, but Elix Skipper trips him up, and they brawl outside. Miss Jones bumps the ref with a vicious kick, and she brawls with Major Cougar. Storm gets a missile dropkick, no ref. Cat’s kick gets two. Jim Duggan waddles in, half-heartedly hits the Cat, and Storm gets the half-crab for the submission. Wow, he beat the Cat, he must be so proud. Match was semi-entertaining. ** Team Canada of course turns on Duggan and pounds the shit out of him after the win. Can’t wait for that Duggan v. Storm blowoff. – Hardcore title: Crowbar v. Terry Funk. They start in the back, thus completely defying Madden’s ranting about “old school hardcore” from a couple of PPVs ago. A truck gets used, and Crowbar is slammed through a table. Funk slams a door on his head for fun. They fight into the arena, using a car door as a weapon. Madden actually uses the “I’ve seen a bent Crowbar, but never a broken one” line, as predicted by Bruce Mitchell yesterday. Nice to see Madden busting out the originality. (2011 Scott sez:  I had blocked Mark Madden:  Color Commentator out of my mind, thankfully, but it’s all coming back to me.)  Crowbar gets handcuffed at some point and faces several chairshots to the head. I know they enjoy making reference to Wrestling with Shadows in this company, but did we REALLY need allusions to Beyond the Mat, too? Crowbar chokes Funk out with the handcuffs, but suffers more chairshots and a piledriver on the car door, giving Funk the pin and the title. Oh boy, more Terry Funk. * – Kroni>| v. Vito & Reno. Da Baldies take control of Clark early, before he decides to stop selling at some arbitrary point and they start beating on Vito. Hit the chinlock. Vito makes the comeback, goes to tag Reno, and gets double-crossed with a SWERVE, as Reno rolls the dice and pins (?) Vito. Uh, okay. ½* So now we’re back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. What awesome storytelling. – Ambulance match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Mike Awesome. Just a bunch of brawling to a dead crowd. Nothing really else to say here, because they didn’t do much. They end up on the ambulance, where Bigelow falls through the roof, giving Awesome the win. Too little, too late for Awesome. *  (2011 Scott sez:  Too little too late for either guy in the long run.  A sad end to both stories.)  US title match: General Rection v. Shane Douglas. Slugfest to start. Brawl on the floor, but Shane goes low. Rection goes to the bearhug back in the ring. That lasts a while. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, which Shane blocks. We hit the chinlock. Out for more brawling, and Shane hits the post, HARD. It draws blood hardway. Back in, moonsault #2 misses, as Shane goes for the chain. Chavo comes down to give it back to Shane after he misses once, but the ref sees it and calls for a DQ. What a mess. DUD The MIA leaves in separate groups. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? – Glacier promo. Damn, I thought they had forgotten about that. – Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers v. The Filthy Animals. This is a bunkhouse street fight (2011 Scott sez:  Fourth different variation on a “hardcore” match in the same show, it should be noted.) , so we have a popcorn machine and a bar in the ring. I guess they had an extra one on-hand from when Scott Hall was with the company. Yay, another hardcore match. I was beginning to think we’d only get three of them on the night. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, I already said that.)  An energetic mess, not unlike the LOD v. NOD street fight at Wrestlemania 13. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on whether you liked the match, I suppose. No real flow here, as the Animals mostly dominate the Harrissessesseseseeesess, until Jarrett powerbombs Rey Rey into a dumpster and the ref restores order. Why? Kidman takes a beating. Hot tag Konnan, and Rey returns with a broom to clean house. Hah, I kill me. Harrissae chokeslam him through a table, and the Stroke finishes Kidman. Entertaining crap. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, this match was more interesting than my lacklustre recapping, which would have been done at 2AM while dubbing a copy of the tape for my friend so I could give the original back, would have you believe.  This was actually a fascinating breakdown of why Vince Russo’s booking was so wrong and backwards and never worked.  The basic layout of the match was a big six-way brawl with crazy stuff to start, as Russo was trying to duplicate the WWF style of hardcore matches that he thought worked so well.  However, the audience that was still sticking with WCW for god knows what reason were old-school southern-style fans, who couldn’t follow those chaotic brawls very easily, so what you got was a big messy fight with no crowd reaction, and then the ref taking control and suddenly turning it into a formula tag match with Kidman getting the heat.  And THEN the crowd reacts to the match and gets into it, and of course Jarrett and the Harris brothers know exactly how to do THAT match and work the crowd into a frenzy with cutting off the ring and all that old school stuff.  It was a fascinating trainwreck that showed how guys who know their craft can do things far more effectively than all the fancy “storylines” in the world can.) World tag title match: The Perfect Event v. Kevin Nash & DDP. Nash pounds Palumbo to start. Page posts Stasiak and hits a sambo suplex for two. Palumbo punks him out and Page plays geezer-in-peril. Yawn. Hot tag Nash, as he hits the usual and Sanders lowblows Page. Stasiak nails Nash with the belt for two. The Thrillers run in and get Diamond Cutted. Nash lifts his leg for the big boot, and finishes Palumbo with the Poochiebomb for the tag titles. I fail to see the point of doing the same finish with the same guys in the same match as last month, but I’m sure Nash convinced someone that it would draw money. **1/4 – Goldberg v. Lex Luger. Brawl to start. Goldberg casually clotheslines him and suplexes him. Brawl on the floor as Buffy and the Sarge join us. Spear is dodged by Luger, and he decks Goldberg and the Sarge with brass knux. It gets two. Bagwell “accidentally” hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg and Luger goes for the Rack, but Goldberg escapes. Spear for Luger, Jackhammer finishes. Bagwell turns on Goldberg, as if the angle wasn’t already dripping with subtlety. Bagwell & Luger v. Goldberg & Sarge at Sin? Send me the tickets RIGHT NOW, baby. Match was junk, but slightly better than last month’s junk. ¾* – WCW World title: Scott Steiner v. Sid Vicious. Sid has long tights tonight, making him look like the Great and Powerful Oz. Slugfest to start. Steiner offers a test of strength, and it’s Hogan v. Warrior all over again. The second one, mind you. Sid legdrop gets two after he wins that battle. Scott lays out Sid and swears at some fans at ringside. I know if I paid $100 for a ringside seat, I wouldn’t go home happy unless a sweaty steroid freak yelled obscenities at me. (2011 Scott sez:  Aren’t people paying Chyna for exactly that now?)  Back in, elbowdrop and pushups follow. One of the only flaws of No Mercy: No pushup taunt for Steiner. He hits the belly-to-belly and Reclines Sid, but he makes the ropes. Midajah comes off the top, but hits Steiner by mistake. Chokeslam gets two for Sid, but Steiner recovers and nails the ref. A lead pipe to the head gives him two via a second ref, Charles Robinson. Jeff Jarrett arrives for no adequately explained reason, but hits Steiner by mistake and gives Sid a two-count. Jarrett pulls Robinson out to stop the count, but Chuck does an end-run around Jarrett, slides back in, and counts two again. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Steiner ballshots sid, suplexes him, and puts him in the Recliner until he passes out (doesn’t ANYONE over 40 submit anymore in this promotion?), probably from boredom. ½* The Bottom Line: Given that I was expecting nothing and got a not-bad show thanks to some hard work, it at least falls into the “pleasant surprise” category. (2011 Scott sez:  WHAT?  Another half-hearted recommendation for this shit show?  It had FUCKING SID V. SCOTT STEINER as a main event!  This was a bullshit show, forgotten the week after.)  However, the same swerve-happy booking as usual kills any momentum and the eternal WCW Glass Ceiling prevents anyone outside of the Good Ol’ Boys from advancing to the main events, so those feeling hopeful about the future of the promotion should probably look elsewhere.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s an understatement.)  I bet I’ll get a million e-mails telling me what a great show this was because of all the garbagy brawling and run-ins and how actual wrestling doesn’t matter, yadda yadda. The sad fact is that the guys in the ladder match have never been pushed against anyone other than themselves and never will be, and Sid will be main-eventing to 0.10 buyrates until he drops dead from an HGH overdose, because that’s the way WCW works and no amount of false hope from the few remaining WCW die-hards is gonna change the facts. Say, someone should write a book about that! Now there’s an idea. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down. (2011 Scott sez:  Bye, Starrcade.  Had I known this was to be the last one, I’d had been sadder.)

Starrcade Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WCW Starrcade 2000 – Well, it’s time for the grand-daddy of them all again, which is appropriate because most of the main eventers are grandfathers. – For the morbidly curious out there, I scanned the pictures of the charred remains of my ex-apartment and posted them at my personal home page, http://members.home.net/netcopnews. Collect ‘em all and trade with your friends! (2011 Scott sez:  That page no longer exists, so don’t waste your time clicking it.  However, if you want to see what Rantsylvania looked like around 1999 via the Wayback Machine, check it out here:  http://web.archive.org/web/19990825002620/http://members.home.net/netcopnews/ That’s what you call minimalist web design, I’d say.)  – No Mercy update: After umpteen frustrating runs in the World title gauntlet, being hammered by the New Age Outlaws in a handicap match, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Scott Steiner to deal with the situation. Armed with about 12 different suplex variations and the Screwdriver as a finisher, I proceeded to pound them in 2:00 to advance and finish the track. I’m stuck at 96%, however, and can’t figure out what block I’m missing – it seems to be the second from the left, on the “Win the Royal Rumble and deal with HHH’s goons for two months” block, but everything in that path is a must-win one, so I’m at a loss to figure it out. Oh well, gotta keep playing and find out, I guess.  (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t worry, I figured it out.) – Live from Washington, DC. Home of President Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush.  (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t do many attempts at political humor.  But when I do, I make sure to go with overstrike jokes!)  – Your hosts are Tony, Mark & Scott. So Madden gets punished by being allowed to do the PPV and Stevie Ray gets bumped? SOMEONE CALL BOBBY WALKER! – Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons v. Knoble & Karagias. Chavito (now using Eddy’s discarded “Low Rider” knockoff theme) does color commentary. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting “boring” 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love ‘em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunn’s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who fucked who’s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. (2011 Scott sez:  Amusing to note that Noble & Helms would go to WWE together and get involved in an even more ridiculous storyline about superhero stalkers and Blind Nidia a couple of years after this.)  Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. (2011 Scott sez:  Ha ha, I bet they all have to take excessive painkillers to deal with the stress on their backs!  Good thing that will never come back to bite anyone ever.)  Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, too… Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, and I doubt anything tonight is gonna touch it. ***3/4 – Meanwhile, Kroni>| enjoys a completely heterosexual steambath. – Lance Storm v. The Cat. Storm draws a standing ovation from us by pointing out that Canada elected their leader in one day, while it took two months for the US to elect theirs. Stalling to start. Cat gets a big kick, but gets tripped up by Major Gunns. Storm pounds away. Cat comes back with a ballshot, but Elix Skipper trips him up, and they brawl outside. Miss Jones bumps the ref with a vicious kick, and she brawls with Major Cougar. Storm gets a missile dropkick, no ref. Cat’s kick gets two. Jim Duggan waddles in, half-heartedly hits the Cat, and Storm gets the half-crab for the submission. Wow, he beat the Cat, he must be so proud. Match was semi-entertaining. ** Team Canada of course turns on Duggan and pounds the shit out of him after the win. Can’t wait for that Duggan v. Storm blowoff. – Hardcore title: Crowbar v. Terry Funk. They start in the back, thus completely defying Madden’s ranting about “old school hardcore” from a couple of PPVs ago. A truck gets used, and Crowbar is slammed through a table. Funk slams a door on his head for fun. They fight into the arena, using a car door as a weapon. Madden actually uses the “I’ve seen a bent Crowbar, but never a broken one” line, as predicted by Bruce Mitchell yesterday. Nice to see Madden busting out the originality. (2011 Scott sez:  I had blocked Mark Madden:  Color Commentator out of my mind, thankfully, but it’s all coming back to me.)  Crowbar gets handcuffed at some point and faces several chairshots to the head. I know they enjoy making reference to Wrestling with Shadows in this company, but did we REALLY need allusions to Beyond the Mat, too? Crowbar chokes Funk out with the handcuffs, but suffers more chairshots and a piledriver on the car door, giving Funk the pin and the title. Oh boy, more Terry Funk. * – Kroni>| v. Vito & Reno. Da Baldies take control of Clark early, before he decides to stop selling at some arbitrary point and they start beating on Vito. Hit the chinlock. Vito makes the comeback, goes to tag Reno, and gets double-crossed with a SWERVE, as Reno rolls the dice and pins (?) Vito. Uh, okay. ½* So now we’re back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. What awesome storytelling. – Ambulance match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Mike Awesome. Just a bunch of brawling to a dead crowd. Nothing really else to say here, because they didn’t do much. They end up on the ambulance, where Bigelow falls through the roof, giving Awesome the win. Too little, too late for Awesome. *  (2011 Scott sez:  Too little too late for either guy in the long run.  A sad end to both stories.)  US title match: General Rection v. Shane Douglas. Slugfest to start. Brawl on the floor, but Shane goes low. Rection goes to the bearhug back in the ring. That lasts a while. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, which Shane blocks. We hit the chinlock. Out for more brawling, and Shane hits the post, HARD. It draws blood hardway. Back in, moonsault #2 misses, as Shane goes for the chain. Chavo comes down to give it back to Shane after he misses once, but the ref sees it and calls for a DQ. What a mess. DUD The MIA leaves in separate groups. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? – Glacier promo. Damn, I thought they had forgotten about that. – Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers v. The Filthy Animals. This is a bunkhouse street fight (2011 Scott sez:  Fourth different variation on a “hardcore” match in the same show, it should be noted.) , so we have a popcorn machine and a bar in the ring. I guess they had an extra one on-hand from when Scott Hall was with the company. Yay, another hardcore match. I was beginning to think we’d only get three of them on the night. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, I already said that.)  An energetic mess, not unlike the LOD v. NOD street fight at Wrestlemania 13. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on whether you liked the match, I suppose. No real flow here, as the Animals mostly dominate the Harrissessesseseseeesess, until Jarrett powerbombs Rey Rey into a dumpster and the ref restores order. Why? Kidman takes a beating. Hot tag Konnan, and Rey returns with a broom to clean house. Hah, I kill me. Harrissae chokeslam him through a table, and the Stroke finishes Kidman. Entertaining crap. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, this match was more interesting than my lacklustre recapping, which would have been done at 2AM while dubbing a copy of the tape for my friend so I could give the original back, would have you believe.  This was actually a fascinating breakdown of why Vince Russo’s booking was so wrong and backwards and never worked.  The basic layout of the match was a big six-way brawl with crazy stuff to start, as Russo was trying to duplicate the WWF style of hardcore matches that he thought worked so well.  However, the audience that was still sticking with WCW for god knows what reason were old-school southern-style fans, who couldn’t follow those chaotic brawls very easily, so what you got was a big messy fight with no crowd reaction, and then the ref taking control and suddenly turning it into a formula tag match with Kidman getting the heat.  And THEN the crowd reacts to the match and gets into it, and of course Jarrett and the Harris brothers know exactly how to do THAT match and work the crowd into a frenzy with cutting off the ring and all that old school stuff.  It was a fascinating trainwreck that showed how guys who know their craft can do things far more effectively than all the fancy “storylines” in the world can.) World tag title match: The Perfect Event v. Kevin Nash & DDP. Nash pounds Palumbo to start. Page posts Stasiak and hits a sambo suplex for two. Palumbo punks him out and Page plays geezer-in-peril. Yawn. Hot tag Nash, as he hits the usual and Sanders lowblows Page. Stasiak nails Nash with the belt for two. The Thrillers run in and get Diamond Cutted. Nash lifts his leg for the big boot, and finishes Palumbo with the Poochiebomb for the tag titles. I fail to see the point of doing the same finish with the same guys in the same match as last month, but I’m sure Nash convinced someone that it would draw money. **1/4 – Goldberg v. Lex Luger. Brawl to start. Goldberg casually clotheslines him and suplexes him. Brawl on the floor as Buffy and the Sarge join us. Spear is dodged by Luger, and he decks Goldberg and the Sarge with brass knux. It gets two. Bagwell “accidentally” hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg and Luger goes for the Rack, but Goldberg escapes. Spear for Luger, Jackhammer finishes. Bagwell turns on Goldberg, as if the angle wasn’t already dripping with subtlety. Bagwell & Luger v. Goldberg & Sarge at Sin? Send me the tickets RIGHT NOW, baby. Match was junk, but slightly better than last month’s junk. ¾* – WCW World title: Scott Steiner v. Sid Vicious. Sid has long tights tonight, making him look like the Great and Powerful Oz. Slugfest to start. Steiner offers a test of strength, and it’s Hogan v. Warrior all over again. The second one, mind you. Sid legdrop gets two after he wins that battle. Scott lays out Sid and swears at some fans at ringside. I know if I paid $100 for a ringside seat, I wouldn’t go home happy unless a sweaty steroid freak yelled obscenities at me. (2011 Scott sez:  Aren’t people paying Chyna for exactly that now?)  Back in, elbowdrop and pushups follow. One of the only flaws of No Mercy: No pushup taunt for Steiner. He hits the belly-to-belly and Reclines Sid, but he makes the ropes. Midajah comes off the top, but hits Steiner by mistake. Chokeslam gets two for Sid, but Steiner recovers and nails the ref. A lead pipe to the head gives him two via a second ref, Charles Robinson. Jeff Jarrett arrives for no adequately explained reason, but hits Steiner by mistake and gives Sid a two-count. Jarrett pulls Robinson out to stop the count, but Chuck does an end-run around Jarrett, slides back in, and counts two again. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Steiner ballshots sid, suplexes him, and puts him in the Recliner until he passes out (doesn’t ANYONE over 40 submit anymore in this promotion?), probably from boredom. ½* The Bottom Line: Given that I was expecting nothing and got a not-bad show thanks to some hard work, it at least falls into the “pleasant surprise” category. (2011 Scott sez:  WHAT?  Another half-hearted recommendation for this shit show?  It had FUCKING SID V. SCOTT STEINER as a main event!  This was a bullshit show, forgotten the week after.)  However, the same swerve-happy booking as usual kills any momentum and the eternal WCW Glass Ceiling prevents anyone outside of the Good Ol’ Boys from advancing to the main events, so those feeling hopeful about the future of the promotion should probably look elsewhere.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s an understatement.)  I bet I’ll get a million e-mails telling me what a great show this was because of all the garbagy brawling and run-ins and how actual wrestling doesn’t matter, yadda yadda. The sad fact is that the guys in the ladder match have never been pushed against anyone other than themselves and never will be, and Sid will be main-eventing to 0.10 buyrates until he drops dead from an HGH overdose, because that’s the way WCW works and no amount of false hope from the few remaining WCW die-hards is gonna change the facts. Say, someone should write a book about that! Now there’s an idea. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down. (2011 Scott sez:  Bye, Starrcade.  Had I known this was to be the last one, I’d had been sadder.)

Starrcade Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WCW Starrcade 2000 – Well, it’s time for the grand-daddy of them all again, which is appropriate because most of the main eventers are grandfathers. – For the morbidly curious out there, I scanned the pictures of the charred remains of my ex-apartment and posted them at my personal home page, http://members.home.net/netcopnews. Collect ‘em all and trade with your friends! (2011 Scott sez:  That page no longer exists, so don’t waste your time clicking it.  However, if you want to see what Rantsylvania looked like around 1999 via the Wayback Machine, check it out here:  http://web.archive.org/web/19990825002620/http://members.home.net/netcopnews/ That’s what you call minimalist web design, I’d say.)  – No Mercy update: After umpteen frustrating runs in the World title gauntlet, being hammered by the New Age Outlaws in a handicap match, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Scott Steiner to deal with the situation. Armed with about 12 different suplex variations and the Screwdriver as a finisher, I proceeded to pound them in 2:00 to advance and finish the track. I’m stuck at 96%, however, and can’t figure out what block I’m missing – it seems to be the second from the left, on the “Win the Royal Rumble and deal with HHH’s goons for two months” block, but everything in that path is a must-win one, so I’m at a loss to figure it out. Oh well, gotta keep playing and find out, I guess.  (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t worry, I figured it out.) – Live from Washington, DC. Home of President Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush.  (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t do many attempts at political humor.  But when I do, I make sure to go with overstrike jokes!)  – Your hosts are Tony, Mark & Scott. So Madden gets punished by being allowed to do the PPV and Stevie Ray gets bumped? SOMEONE CALL BOBBY WALKER! – Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons v. Knoble & Karagias. Chavito (now using Eddy’s discarded “Low Rider” knockoff theme) does color commentary. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting “boring” 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love ‘em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunn’s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who fucked who’s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. (2011 Scott sez:  Amusing to note that Noble & Helms would go to WWE together and get involved in an even more ridiculous storyline about superhero stalkers and Blind Nidia a couple of years after this.)  Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. (2011 Scott sez:  Ha ha, I bet they all have to take excessive painkillers to deal with the stress on their backs!  Good thing that will never come back to bite anyone ever.)  Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, too… Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, and I doubt anything tonight is gonna touch it. ***3/4 – Meanwhile, Kroni>| enjoys a completely heterosexual steambath. – Lance Storm v. The Cat. Storm draws a standing ovation from us by pointing out that Canada elected their leader in one day, while it took two months for the US to elect theirs. Stalling to start. Cat gets a big kick, but gets tripped up by Major Gunns. Storm pounds away. Cat comes back with a ballshot, but Elix Skipper trips him up, and they brawl outside. Miss Jones bumps the ref with a vicious kick, and she brawls with Major Cougar. Storm gets a missile dropkick, no ref. Cat’s kick gets two. Jim Duggan waddles in, half-heartedly hits the Cat, and Storm gets the half-crab for the submission. Wow, he beat the Cat, he must be so proud. Match was semi-entertaining. ** Team Canada of course turns on Duggan and pounds the shit out of him after the win. Can’t wait for that Duggan v. Storm blowoff. – Hardcore title: Crowbar v. Terry Funk. They start in the back, thus completely defying Madden’s ranting about “old school hardcore” from a couple of PPVs ago. A truck gets used, and Crowbar is slammed through a table. Funk slams a door on his head for fun. They fight into the arena, using a car door as a weapon. Madden actually uses the “I’ve seen a bent Crowbar, but never a broken one” line, as predicted by Bruce Mitchell yesterday. Nice to see Madden busting out the originality. (2011 Scott sez:  I had blocked Mark Madden:  Color Commentator out of my mind, thankfully, but it’s all coming back to me.)  Crowbar gets handcuffed at some point and faces several chairshots to the head. I know they enjoy making reference to Wrestling with Shadows in this company, but did we REALLY need allusions to Beyond the Mat, too? Crowbar chokes Funk out with the handcuffs, but suffers more chairshots and a piledriver on the car door, giving Funk the pin and the title. Oh boy, more Terry Funk. * – Kroni>| v. Vito & Reno. Da Baldies take control of Clark early, before he decides to stop selling at some arbitrary point and they start beating on Vito. Hit the chinlock. Vito makes the comeback, goes to tag Reno, and gets double-crossed with a SWERVE, as Reno rolls the dice and pins (?) Vito. Uh, okay. ½* So now we’re back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. What awesome storytelling. – Ambulance match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Mike Awesome. Just a bunch of brawling to a dead crowd. Nothing really else to say here, because they didn’t do much. They end up on the ambulance, where Bigelow falls through the roof, giving Awesome the win. Too little, too late for Awesome. *  (2011 Scott sez:  Too little too late for either guy in the long run.  A sad end to both stories.)  US title match: General Rection v. Shane Douglas. Slugfest to start. Brawl on the floor, but Shane goes low. Rection goes to the bearhug back in the ring. That lasts a while. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, which Shane blocks. We hit the chinlock. Out for more brawling, and Shane hits the post, HARD. It draws blood hardway. Back in, moonsault #2 misses, as Shane goes for the chain. Chavo comes down to give it back to Shane after he misses once, but the ref sees it and calls for a DQ. What a mess. DUD The MIA leaves in separate groups. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? – Glacier promo. Damn, I thought they had forgotten about that. – Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers v. The Filthy Animals. This is a bunkhouse street fight (2011 Scott sez:  Fourth different variation on a “hardcore” match in the same show, it should be noted.) , so we have a popcorn machine and a bar in the ring. I guess they had an extra one on-hand from when Scott Hall was with the company. Yay, another hardcore match. I was beginning to think we’d only get three of them on the night. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, I already said that.)  An energetic mess, not unlike the LOD v. NOD street fight at Wrestlemania 13. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on whether you liked the match, I suppose. No real flow here, as the Animals mostly dominate the Harrissessesseseseeesess, until Jarrett powerbombs Rey Rey into a dumpster and the ref restores order. Why? Kidman takes a beating. Hot tag Konnan, and Rey returns with a broom to clean house. Hah, I kill me. Harrissae chokeslam him through a table, and the Stroke finishes Kidman. Entertaining crap. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, this match was more interesting than my lacklustre recapping, which would have been done at 2AM while dubbing a copy of the tape for my friend so I could give the original back, would have you believe.  This was actually a fascinating breakdown of why Vince Russo’s booking was so wrong and backwards and never worked.  The basic layout of the match was a big six-way brawl with crazy stuff to start, as Russo was trying to duplicate the WWF style of hardcore matches that he thought worked so well.  However, the audience that was still sticking with WCW for god knows what reason were old-school southern-style fans, who couldn’t follow those chaotic brawls very easily, so what you got was a big messy fight with no crowd reaction, and then the ref taking control and suddenly turning it into a formula tag match with Kidman getting the heat.  And THEN the crowd reacts to the match and gets into it, and of course Jarrett and the Harris brothers know exactly how to do THAT match and work the crowd into a frenzy with cutting off the ring and all that old school stuff.  It was a fascinating trainwreck that showed how guys who know their craft can do things far more effectively than all the fancy “storylines” in the world can.) World tag title match: The Perfect Event v. Kevin Nash & DDP. Nash pounds Palumbo to start. Page posts Stasiak and hits a sambo suplex for two. Palumbo punks him out and Page plays geezer-in-peril. Yawn. Hot tag Nash, as he hits the usual and Sanders lowblows Page. Stasiak nails Nash with the belt for two. The Thrillers run in and get Diamond Cutted. Nash lifts his leg for the big boot, and finishes Palumbo with the Poochiebomb for the tag titles. I fail to see the point of doing the same finish with the same guys in the same match as last month, but I’m sure Nash convinced someone that it would draw money. **1/4 – Goldberg v. Lex Luger. Brawl to start. Goldberg casually clotheslines him and suplexes him. Brawl on the floor as Buffy and the Sarge join us. Spear is dodged by Luger, and he decks Goldberg and the Sarge with brass knux. It gets two. Bagwell “accidentally” hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg and Luger goes for the Rack, but Goldberg escapes. Spear for Luger, Jackhammer finishes. Bagwell turns on Goldberg, as if the angle wasn’t already dripping with subtlety. Bagwell & Luger v. Goldberg & Sarge at Sin? Send me the tickets RIGHT NOW, baby. Match was junk, but slightly better than last month’s junk. ¾* – WCW World title: Scott Steiner v. Sid Vicious. Sid has long tights tonight, making him look like the Great and Powerful Oz. Slugfest to start. Steiner offers a test of strength, and it’s Hogan v. Warrior all over again. The second one, mind you. Sid legdrop gets two after he wins that battle. Scott lays out Sid and swears at some fans at ringside. I know if I paid $100 for a ringside seat, I wouldn’t go home happy unless a sweaty steroid freak yelled obscenities at me. (2011 Scott sez:  Aren’t people paying Chyna for exactly that now?)  Back in, elbowdrop and pushups follow. One of the only flaws of No Mercy: No pushup taunt for Steiner. He hits the belly-to-belly and Reclines Sid, but he makes the ropes. Midajah comes off the top, but hits Steiner by mistake. Chokeslam gets two for Sid, but Steiner recovers and nails the ref. A lead pipe to the head gives him two via a second ref, Charles Robinson. Jeff Jarrett arrives for no adequately explained reason, but hits Steiner by mistake and gives Sid a two-count. Jarrett pulls Robinson out to stop the count, but Chuck does an end-run around Jarrett, slides back in, and counts two again. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Steiner ballshots sid, suplexes him, and puts him in the Recliner until he passes out (doesn’t ANYONE over 40 submit anymore in this promotion?), probably from boredom. ½* The Bottom Line: Given that I was expecting nothing and got a not-bad show thanks to some hard work, it at least falls into the “pleasant surprise” category. (2011 Scott sez:  WHAT?  Another half-hearted recommendation for this shit show?  It had FUCKING SID V. SCOTT STEINER as a main event!  This was a bullshit show, forgotten the week after.)  However, the same swerve-happy booking as usual kills any momentum and the eternal WCW Glass Ceiling prevents anyone outside of the Good Ol’ Boys from advancing to the main events, so those feeling hopeful about the future of the promotion should probably look elsewhere.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s an understatement.)  I bet I’ll get a million e-mails telling me what a great show this was because of all the garbagy brawling and run-ins and how actual wrestling doesn’t matter, yadda yadda. The sad fact is that the guys in the ladder match have never been pushed against anyone other than themselves and never will be, and Sid will be main-eventing to 0.10 buyrates until he drops dead from an HGH overdose, because that’s the way WCW works and no amount of false hope from the few remaining WCW die-hards is gonna change the facts. Say, someone should write a book about that! Now there’s an idea. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down. (2011 Scott sez:  Bye, Starrcade.  Had I known this was to be the last one, I’d had been sadder.)

Starrcade Countdown: 2000

The SK Rant for WCW Starrcade 2000 – Well, it’s time for the grand-daddy of them all again, which is appropriate because most of the main eventers are grandfathers. – For the morbidly curious out there, I scanned the pictures of the charred remains of my ex-apartment and posted them at my personal home page, http://members.home.net/netcopnews. Collect ‘em all and trade with your friends! (2011 Scott sez:  That page no longer exists, so don’t waste your time clicking it.  However, if you want to see what Rantsylvania looked like around 1999 via the Wayback Machine, check it out here:  http://web.archive.org/web/19990825002620/http://members.home.net/netcopnews/ That’s what you call minimalist web design, I’d say.)  – No Mercy update: After umpteen frustrating runs in the World title gauntlet, being hammered by the New Age Outlaws in a handicap match, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Scott Steiner to deal with the situation. Armed with about 12 different suplex variations and the Screwdriver as a finisher, I proceeded to pound them in 2:00 to advance and finish the track. I’m stuck at 96%, however, and can’t figure out what block I’m missing – it seems to be the second from the left, on the “Win the Royal Rumble and deal with HHH’s goons for two months” block, but everything in that path is a must-win one, so I’m at a loss to figure it out. Oh well, gotta keep playing and find out, I guess.  (2011 Scott sez:  Don’t worry, I figured it out.) – Live from Washington, DC. Home of President Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush.  (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t do many attempts at political humor.  But when I do, I make sure to go with overstrike jokes!)  – Your hosts are Tony, Mark & Scott. So Madden gets punished by being allowed to do the PPV and Stevie Ray gets bumped? SOMEONE CALL BOBBY WALKER! – Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons v. Knoble & Karagias. Chavito (now using Eddy’s discarded “Low Rider” knockoff theme) does color commentary. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting “boring” 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love ‘em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunn’s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who fucked who’s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. (2011 Scott sez:  Amusing to note that Noble & Helms would go to WWE together and get involved in an even more ridiculous storyline about superhero stalkers and Blind Nidia a couple of years after this.)  Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. (2011 Scott sez:  Ha ha, I bet they all have to take excessive painkillers to deal with the stress on their backs!  Good thing that will never come back to bite anyone ever.)  Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, too… Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, and I doubt anything tonight is gonna touch it. ***3/4 – Meanwhile, Kroni>| enjoys a completely heterosexual steambath. – Lance Storm v. The Cat. Storm draws a standing ovation from us by pointing out that Canada elected their leader in one day, while it took two months for the US to elect theirs. Stalling to start. Cat gets a big kick, but gets tripped up by Major Gunns. Storm pounds away. Cat comes back with a ballshot, but Elix Skipper trips him up, and they brawl outside. Miss Jones bumps the ref with a vicious kick, and she brawls with Major Cougar. Storm gets a missile dropkick, no ref. Cat’s kick gets two. Jim Duggan waddles in, half-heartedly hits the Cat, and Storm gets the half-crab for the submission. Wow, he beat the Cat, he must be so proud. Match was semi-entertaining. ** Team Canada of course turns on Duggan and pounds the shit out of him after the win. Can’t wait for that Duggan v. Storm blowoff. – Hardcore title: Crowbar v. Terry Funk. They start in the back, thus completely defying Madden’s ranting about “old school hardcore” from a couple of PPVs ago. A truck gets used, and Crowbar is slammed through a table. Funk slams a door on his head for fun. They fight into the arena, using a car door as a weapon. Madden actually uses the “I’ve seen a bent Crowbar, but never a broken one” line, as predicted by Bruce Mitchell yesterday. Nice to see Madden busting out the originality. (2011 Scott sez:  I had blocked Mark Madden:  Color Commentator out of my mind, thankfully, but it’s all coming back to me.)  Crowbar gets handcuffed at some point and faces several chairshots to the head. I know they enjoy making reference to Wrestling with Shadows in this company, but did we REALLY need allusions to Beyond the Mat, too? Crowbar chokes Funk out with the handcuffs, but suffers more chairshots and a piledriver on the car door, giving Funk the pin and the title. Oh boy, more Terry Funk. * – Kroni>| v. Vito & Reno. Da Baldies take control of Clark early, before he decides to stop selling at some arbitrary point and they start beating on Vito. Hit the chinlock. Vito makes the comeback, goes to tag Reno, and gets double-crossed with a SWERVE, as Reno rolls the dice and pins (?) Vito. Uh, okay. ½* So now we’re back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. What awesome storytelling. – Ambulance match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Mike Awesome. Just a bunch of brawling to a dead crowd. Nothing really else to say here, because they didn’t do much. They end up on the ambulance, where Bigelow falls through the roof, giving Awesome the win. Too little, too late for Awesome. *  (2011 Scott sez:  Too little too late for either guy in the long run.  A sad end to both stories.)  US title match: General Rection v. Shane Douglas. Slugfest to start. Brawl on the floor, but Shane goes low. Rection goes to the bearhug back in the ring. That lasts a while. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, which Shane blocks. We hit the chinlock. Out for more brawling, and Shane hits the post, HARD. It draws blood hardway. Back in, moonsault #2 misses, as Shane goes for the chain. Chavo comes down to give it back to Shane after he misses once, but the ref sees it and calls for a DQ. What a mess. DUD The MIA leaves in separate groups. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? – Glacier promo. Damn, I thought they had forgotten about that. – Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers v. The Filthy Animals. This is a bunkhouse street fight (2011 Scott sez:  Fourth different variation on a “hardcore” match in the same show, it should be noted.) , so we have a popcorn machine and a bar in the ring. I guess they had an extra one on-hand from when Scott Hall was with the company. Yay, another hardcore match. I was beginning to think we’d only get three of them on the night. (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, I already said that.)  An energetic mess, not unlike the LOD v. NOD street fight at Wrestlemania 13. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on whether you liked the match, I suppose. No real flow here, as the Animals mostly dominate the Harrissessesseseseeesess, until Jarrett powerbombs Rey Rey into a dumpster and the ref restores order. Why? Kidman takes a beating. Hot tag Konnan, and Rey returns with a broom to clean house. Hah, I kill me. Harrissae chokeslam him through a table, and the Stroke finishes Kidman. Entertaining crap. ***  (2011 Scott sez:  OK, this match was more interesting than my lacklustre recapping, which would have been done at 2AM while dubbing a copy of the tape for my friend so I could give the original back, would have you believe.  This was actually a fascinating breakdown of why Vince Russo’s booking was so wrong and backwards and never worked.  The basic layout of the match was a big six-way brawl with crazy stuff to start, as Russo was trying to duplicate the WWF style of hardcore matches that he thought worked so well.  However, the audience that was still sticking with WCW for god knows what reason were old-school southern-style fans, who couldn’t follow those chaotic brawls very easily, so what you got was a big messy fight with no crowd reaction, and then the ref taking control and suddenly turning it into a formula tag match with Kidman getting the heat.  And THEN the crowd reacts to the match and gets into it, and of course Jarrett and the Harris brothers know exactly how to do THAT match and work the crowd into a frenzy with cutting off the ring and all that old school stuff.  It was a fascinating trainwreck that showed how guys who know their craft can do things far more effectively than all the fancy “storylines” in the world can.) World tag title match: The Perfect Event v. Kevin Nash & DDP. Nash pounds Palumbo to start. Page posts Stasiak and hits a sambo suplex for two. Palumbo punks him out and Page plays geezer-in-peril. Yawn. Hot tag Nash, as he hits the usual and Sanders lowblows Page. Stasiak nails Nash with the belt for two. The Thrillers run in and get Diamond Cutted. Nash lifts his leg for the big boot, and finishes Palumbo with the Poochiebomb for the tag titles. I fail to see the point of doing the same finish with the same guys in the same match as last month, but I’m sure Nash convinced someone that it would draw money. **1/4 – Goldberg v. Lex Luger. Brawl to start. Goldberg casually clotheslines him and suplexes him. Brawl on the floor as Buffy and the Sarge join us. Spear is dodged by Luger, and he decks Goldberg and the Sarge with brass knux. It gets two. Bagwell “accidentally” hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg and Luger goes for the Rack, but Goldberg escapes. Spear for Luger, Jackhammer finishes. Bagwell turns on Goldberg, as if the angle wasn’t already dripping with subtlety. Bagwell & Luger v. Goldberg & Sarge at Sin? Send me the tickets RIGHT NOW, baby. Match was junk, but slightly better than last month’s junk. ¾* – WCW World title: Scott Steiner v. Sid Vicious. Sid has long tights tonight, making him look like the Great and Powerful Oz. Slugfest to start. Steiner offers a test of strength, and it’s Hogan v. Warrior all over again. The second one, mind you. Sid legdrop gets two after he wins that battle. Scott lays out Sid and swears at some fans at ringside. I know if I paid $100 for a ringside seat, I wouldn’t go home happy unless a sweaty steroid freak yelled obscenities at me. (2011 Scott sez:  Aren’t people paying Chyna for exactly that now?)  Back in, elbowdrop and pushups follow. One of the only flaws of No Mercy: No pushup taunt for Steiner. He hits the belly-to-belly and Reclines Sid, but he makes the ropes. Midajah comes off the top, but hits Steiner by mistake. Chokeslam gets two for Sid, but Steiner recovers and nails the ref. A lead pipe to the head gives him two via a second ref, Charles Robinson. Jeff Jarrett arrives for no adequately explained reason, but hits Steiner by mistake and gives Sid a two-count. Jarrett pulls Robinson out to stop the count, but Chuck does an end-run around Jarrett, slides back in, and counts two again. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Steiner ballshots sid, suplexes him, and puts him in the Recliner until he passes out (doesn’t ANYONE over 40 submit anymore in this promotion?), probably from boredom. ½* The Bottom Line: Given that I was expecting nothing and got a not-bad show thanks to some hard work, it at least falls into the “pleasant surprise” category. (2011 Scott sez:  WHAT?  Another half-hearted recommendation for this shit show?  It had FUCKING SID V. SCOTT STEINER as a main event!  This was a bullshit show, forgotten the week after.)  However, the same swerve-happy booking as usual kills any momentum and the eternal WCW Glass Ceiling prevents anyone outside of the Good Ol’ Boys from advancing to the main events, so those feeling hopeful about the future of the promotion should probably look elsewhere.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, there’s an understatement.)  I bet I’ll get a million e-mails telling me what a great show this was because of all the garbagy brawling and run-ins and how actual wrestling doesn’t matter, yadda yadda. The sad fact is that the guys in the ladder match have never been pushed against anyone other than themselves and never will be, and Sid will be main-eventing to 0.10 buyrates until he drops dead from an HGH overdose, because that’s the way WCW works and no amount of false hope from the few remaining WCW die-hards is gonna change the facts. Say, someone should write a book about that! Now there’s an idea. Thumbs in the middle, leaning down. (2011 Scott sez:  Bye, Starrcade.  Had I known this was to be the last one, I’d had been sadder.)

JR And The Fink

I was thinking about what you said about Jim Ross and Howard Finkel in the Slammy’s rant, about the petty undercutting of both men at large by Vince McMahon. Congrats, Scott, you inspired me to pen this. I think it sums up what Ross and Finkel mean to all of us as fans. I’d much appreciate it if you could please share it with your readership. http://bit.ly/um2KAJ

Glad I could inspire you!  And it’s true, Finkel is generally the soundtrack of everyone’s wrestling daydreams. 

JR And The Fink

I was thinking about what you said about Jim Ross and Howard Finkel in the Slammy’s rant, about the petty undercutting of both men at large by Vince McMahon. Congrats, Scott, you inspired me to pen this. I think it sums up what Ross and Finkel mean to all of us as fans. I’d much appreciate it if you could please share it with your readership. http://bit.ly/um2KAJ

Glad I could inspire you!  And it’s true, Finkel is generally the soundtrack of everyone’s wrestling daydreams.